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The Latest From ACEEE Summer Study

Created 8/24/2016 by Phillip Kelsven
Updated 9/2/2016 by Suzi Asmus
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I am once again back at summer camp for energy efficiency geeks. The idyllic sea side setting is perfect for days full of technology, policy, best practices, and a little bit of networking. I will recap interesting sessions I saw on day one and two.

Danny Parker from Florida Solar Energy Center presented results from a Nest Thermostat pilot in Florida where they did long term submetering pre and post Nest. This topic is near and dear to my heart as I will present a similar session on Friday on the BPA/Franklin PUD submetering data.  Danny showed that savings approached 9-10%, mostly on cooling but some heating too. They also detected cooling system efficiency losses over two years of monitoring suggesting that smart tstats can detect HVAC systems that need to be serviced. They also calculated a reduction in energy of 15% at peak time hours. They had problems with the acceptance of the Honeywell Lyric (old news by now).

There is some commercial HVAC controls software as a service company called “comfy” which allows people in office cubes to go to war with their office neighbors over zonal temperature set points with their smart phones. Sounds very interesting.  They don’t know if it saves energy, yes, they did say that.

Spoiler alert, non intrusive load metering (NILM) does not work, or so says Mike Baker from SBW consulting who conducted a study for PG&E which compared the results of three different end use load disaggregation software (via AMI meters) vendors to actual directly metered end use loads. All three vendors were horribly off on pretty much every residential end use.  “Vendor C” had the best results but was still off by leaps and bounds for nearly all end uses.  So the technology for smart meter load disaggregation has a long way to go. 

Joseph Peterson and Sarah Widder from PNNL touted the potential for window attachments including low-e storm windows, curtains, and r-5 windows. There is great potential in low-e storm windows for folks that cannot afford to replace all of their windows. BPA is proud to be adding this measure to the BPA portfolio on October 1st.  The Northwest is leading the nation with this technology! 

The infamous John Proctor spoke about lessons learned from a deep residential retrofit project in central California. He even gave out a one pager cheat sheet, this is a great idea for any presentation, take note! DHP’s are not being installed properly, they come out of the box set for hot humid climates, and installers are not correcting the problem causing way too much fan energy among other issues. Basically don’t count on DHPs operating at their rated efficiency. Ducts in attics can perform just as well as ducts inside if attention to detail is paid to attic insulation and air sealing. Way too much crankcase heater and defrost energy in some heat pumps.  Thankfully there is a BPA funded project to study more efficient defrost strategies in heat pumps!  Whole house fans are great for reducing cooling load.

No post would be complete without smart thermostats. Oh yes a whole session.  The “Thriller in Asilomar: Battle of the smart thermostats” showed results of the Energy Trust Honeywell Lyric versus the Nest thermostat.  Lets just say thankfully there was nobody from Honeywell in the room.  Read the evaluation on the Energy Trust website. Abigail Daken from EPA gave an update on the Energy Star spec for “connected thermostats”.  There will be an Energy Star spec by the end of the year, that maybe a couple manufacturers might meet, hmmm interesting.  But, they won’t have criteria for back up resistance heat in heat pumps.  That is quite unfortunate. 

I think I might go body surfing again tomorrow, the ocean water is not that cold, but the air is. I kind of miss the sweltering heat of Portland.

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Comments (5)
Summer Goodwin on 08/24/16 on 08:29 AM (Pacific Time)

Thanks Phillip. I almost feel like I am there. Sounds like you are getting a lot out of it. Everyone is talking about thermostats! What are the buzzwords this year? I want to hear more.

Phillip Kelsven on 08/25/16 on 05:37 PM (Pacific Time)

buzzwords = equity, smart, connected, zero net energy, passive house

David Harris on 08/29/16 on 01:43 PM (Pacific Time)

Thanks Phillip. You state that John Proctor said "DHP’s are not being installed properly, they come out of the box set for hot humid climates, and installers are not correcting the problem causing way too much fan energy among other issues."
I would like to hear more about this. What needs to be done differently here in the NW?

Phillip Kelsven on 08/31/16 on 07:50 AM (Pacific Time)

I am going to read the paper, he says its all in there.  Attention does need to be paid to sizing and proper install of DHPs, like a PTCS for DHPs. I know that NEEA is working on this too.   I will send you the paper. 

Suzi Asmus on 09/02/16 on 10:28 AM (Pacific Time)

 Enjoyed reading this, Phillip. Lots of good info. Please share the paper along as well.


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