Stories indexed with the term ‘Department of Energy’

AAPS: No Wind Turbine for Teaching

Educating Ann Arbor area students about wind power might still take place with funding from a U.S. Department of Energy grant. But that teaching won’t take place in the context of a demonstration wind turbine the city of Ann Arbor had hoped to construct with the federal money.

That’s because Ann Arbor Public Schools has informed the city that the district won’t be partnering with the city on the construction of a 100-150 foot tall, 60kW wind turbine on school property.

In a letter dated Jan. 30, 2014 from AAPS superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift to city administrator Steve Powers, Swift concluded: “I believe that it is not in the best interest of the District to consent to this project.” However, Swift’s letter leaves … [Full Story]

Special District Might Fund Energy Program

infrared scan of switchplate to external wall

Infrared scan of light switch plate on the interior of an outside wall. The scan was made during a homeowner energy audit. Cold-to-hot on the color scale is: black, purple, dark blue, light blue, green, yellow, red. The scan, made during a blower test that caused air to infiltrate the house at a high rate, shows that there are significant air leaks around the plate.

Most homeowners would say that they’d love to save a few dollars on heating their houses. And caulk is cheap, right? So why would a homeowner who feels a draft hesitate to invest in a caulking gun and a tube of caulk? One possible reason: To do a really good, comprehensive job sealing up a whole house could require a $3,000 investment – in labor, caulk, spray foam, weatherstripping, and other materials.

So if  homeowners are going to spend a few thousand dollars to improve the energy efficiency of their houses, maybe there’s a more cost-effective investment they could make – like throwing $2,000 worth of extra insulation in the attic.

The city of Ann Arbor has a similar challenge – if it receives more than $1 million in federal stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to invest locally. Andrew Brix, energy coordinator for the city, and other city staff need to answer the question: How do you spend that money in the most cost-effective way for the community?

Their tentative answer could include financial help for homeowners in the form of loans set up through a self-assessment energy financing district – help for homeowners like the one faced with the $2,000-for-air-sealing versus $3,000-for-attic insulation question.

The Chronicle didn’t pull those numbers out of a hat. We pulled them out of a Matt – as in Matt Naud’s energy audit report. Naud is the environmental coordinator for the city of Ann Arbor, and he agreed to let us shadow the Recycle Ann Arbor energy audit team as they conducted their analysis of his house. [Full Story]