Value of Energy Efficiency & the Intent of Green Button
The idea behind the Green Button can be stated with two words "Energy Efficiency." By opening details of energy consumption information to users and device and software innovators the potential for improving energy efficiency is transformative. This program opens wide the door for ground-breaking devices and applications that interpret, analyze, recommend, investigate, and convert energy usage data into meaningful information that empowers consumers to take action.
Since the biggest bang for our buck on the energy front is in improvement in energy efficiency it only make sense this information should be provided. Asking consumers and businesses to get on board and divert resources to those that improve energy efficiency stands a much better chance when consumption data is available and there is a wealth of ways in which they can work with the data to see reduced costs.
Implementing Green Button is among the most powerful steps we can take as a nation to better enable energy efficiency and net the benefits.
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At Advantage Electronic Product Development, our extensive experience with the drive to “Go Green” begins in 2001. When it comes to the design and development of products that are energy efficient and eco-friendly, as well as cost effective our engineering services team is seasoned. The use of carbon-neutral tool sets, simulation technologies and hardware that is eco-friendly is the future of electronics in the majority of industries. It makes good sense to start at the design level with a development team that knows how to “Go Green”.
Many of our product development clients seek us out because they may not have the expertise or perhaps the internal resources develop products utilizing green technologies. We know that in order for our customers to be competitive in the future, and maximize their budget, they will need to devote a portion of their R&D budget to these technologies.
We can demonstrate that the perception that green technology is expensive is in fact, a misconception. It is less expensive when you get smarter, simpler products with better resource utilization while conserving precious resources. We are experts in designing electronic products that will improve our client’s bottom line.
Strict environmental regulations have been imposed on the vast majority of electronic products and the solution to these begins in development. Advantage is consistently meeting and exceeding those standards for our clients because it has become imperative that we all reduce energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. Support of our clients and that necessity makes Going green a topmost imperative to our design specialists. As a result, there is a growing need to optimize efficiency of the electrical products being produced. Innovations in reducing waste, consumer interaction and changes to the methods of production are creating a whole new field in electronics … Green Technology.
Companies are beginning to adapt their strategies to have the smallest degree of impact on the environment. They are upgrading their businesses to operate more efficiently and conserve resources while retaining economic feasibility. Electronic product development teams too must strive for the least amount of effect on the eco-system. From innovative sensors and Smart Home devices, to prototype simulations and clean manufacturing product designs Advantage constantly strives to remain at the fore front in development of sustainable environmentally sound devices.
Change is today’s strategic issue. Good corporate citizenship is paramount. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has partnered with Carbonfund.org to counterbalance carbon offsetting and become carbon neutral at their tradeshows. According to the Ceres report, boards of directors are looking at minimizing climate-related risks and maximizing solution-oriented products and services. We help our clients to accomplish this through the methods we used to develop a product, consideration of the product’s purpose and how to best dispose of it at the end of its useful life cycle.
Advantage is forging ahead in the study of smart community micro grid systems and other distributed energy solutions. Automated integration issues drive our research with regard to automated controls in renewable energy and intelligent power sensors which can effectively utilize storage, demand, and load distribution as well as the generation of power.
Green Technology Developments - Heated Windows
Windows let 30% of heat or air-conditioned air out of a building on average. This product, heated windows is a Green Technology product times two. This is because the efficiency of radiant plus the almost complete prevention of temperature loss from inside to out.
Two University Studies have conclusively demonstrated that the heat from the windows does not radiate to the outside of the building.
Several hundred of the windows were installed in a Platinum rated LEEDs building, the Golisano Library in Rochester New York.
For this project, our client asked us to developed windows of various sizes with the ability to heat up to 140 degrees when power is applied to them. We developed a controller to regulate the window temperature and smartphone applications for both Android and Apple to give the user configuration control and access to diagnostic information (such as error or fault conditions) through these applications.
The controller supplies 110VAC that is present in residential and commercial buildings to the radiant heating elements of the window. Each controller provides control for up to 3 heated windows in a set. The user has the ability to individually configure each of these windows to a specified temperature through the custom Smart Phone application. Built into the system are several safety features including automatic shutoff of power to each window in the event of breakage or any other fault or error condition. If one of these events occurs the embedded controller automatically shuts off power to each window and provides an error message representing the fault condition via either a visual indication at the controller or through the custom Smart Phone application.
The controller is designed to fit into a standard construction box which can be easily and discretely mounted out of sight such as in a wall between studs, a breaker room or within the hanging ceiling of a commercial building.
The Heated Window system has been certified compliant to the UL 962 standard. This certification required careful analysis of all system components to ensure that the product meets specific standards including safety, radio frequency interference (EMI/RFI), and electrostatic discharge (ESD).
Patents are Pending
Several patentable technologies came out of the development. Advantage assisted with technical descriptions and filing of provisional patents with the expert help of our patent agent.
Green Engineering, What Is It?
"Green engineering is the design, commercialization, and use of processes and products, which have economic feasibility while minimizing; 1) Generation of pollution at the source and; 2) risk to human health and the environment." … is the definition given by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Technology, and in particular, engineering in the realm of electronic product development can be used to contain a major portion of environmental impact by the way in which systems and products are designed and manufactured, used and then retired. A multitude of case studies indicates huge potential for 'green engineering' through better product, process and systems engineering.
The complete lifecycle of products, Design-Manufacture-Maintain-Retire, impacts the environment and users. So, better engineered products can lessen the impact through consumption of fewer resources in designed and more resource-efficiency in manufacturing, supply chain, customer experience, maintenance and retirement. Advantage can help your company execute products that are better, smarter, simpler, safer as well as lighter and more energy-efficient. Consideration of these important issues is no longer an option in electronics.
The Carrot & the Stick
There are now thoroughlymassive markets for products of all kinds and aggressive efforts by major companies to go Green as rapidly as possible. For example, shortly after the Environmental Protection Agency's release of its annual "Green Power Partnership" list, a coalition of industry-leading companies announced that they have hit their target for renewable energy purchases a year ahead of schedule.
Founded by the World Resources Institute in 2000, the Green Power Market Development Group set a ten-year target for purchasing 1,000 megawatts of cost-competitive renewable energy, which is enough energy to eliminate the need for one carbon-intensive coal-fired power plant. But, the group has announced that it has hit the goal a year early.
The Green Power Market Development group coalition is comprised of 15 companies, four of which have made the EPA's Green Power Top 50 list, DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, Staples and Starbucks, as well as other industry giants, Alcoa, Dow Chemical, Federal Express, General Motors, Georgia-Pacific, Google, IBM, Interface, Michelin, Natureworks & Pitney Bowes.
World Resources Institute president, Jonathan Lash, said. "Around the country, the legacy of passive energy consumption is being replaced with smarter, proactive energy management. Energy, environment, and financial managers are focusing on cost and performance, and at the same time, they're harnessing nature's power."
Deploying and Financing On-Site Renewable Energy, which explores strategies for companies that are looking to invest in green power and implement renewable energy systems at their own facilities is the topic of WRI's report "Harnessing Nature's Power" which investigates innovations in green power financing and features stories from companies that have made these projects work.
As usually does happen with time, the "socially conscious" choices have now tipped the balance and become the defacto. Products in every industry will need green engineering and green innovation as the necessary next step. And, finally the markets exist for them in abundance.
The Climate Control Bill introduced by Representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) & Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in May introduced the most recent version of the American Clean Energy & Security Act. The bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by the year 2020. It would distribute up to 85 percent of pollution permits in a proposed cap-and-trade program.
Permit allocation breaks down like this:
- 35% percent for the electric utility sector, 5% of which goes to privately owned coal companies
- 15% for carbon-intensive industries, such as steel in 2014 and reduced by 2% each year
- 15% of the carbon permits are to be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to low & moderate-income families
- 10% to states for renewable energy & efficiency investment in years 2012 to 2015 which is reduced to 5% between 2016 and 2022
- 9% for local natural gas distribution companies, which is reduced to 0% between 2026 and 2030
- 5% to tropical deforestation projects
- 3% for automakers to be used for advanced technologies through 2017 and reduced to 1% between 2018 and 2025
- 2% each for domestic & international adaptation to climate change between 2012 and 2021, which increases to 4% between 2022 and 2026 and 8% in 2027
- 2% each for carbon capture & storage technology from 2014 to 2017, which increases to 5% after 2018, as well as for oil refineries from 2014 to 2026
- 1.5% to programs helping home heating oil and propane users, which reduces to 0% between 2026 and 2030
- 1% to Clean Energy Innovation Centers for R&D funding
- 0.5 for career training between years 2012 to 2021, which increases to 1 percent in 2022
Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) said. "This bill marks the dawn of the clean energy age, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revive our economy and create millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.”
There is a renewable energy & energy efficiency standard of 20%t by 2020 but, if a state cannot meet the requirement, the governor is allowed to reduce the renewable target to 12% and many environmental groups have expressed concern over such shortcomings.
Greenpeace USA's Executive Director Phil Radford stated. “Despite the best efforts of Chairman Waxman, this bill has been seriously undermined by the lobbying of industries more concerned with profits than the plight of our planet. While science clearly tells us that only dramatic action can prevent global warming and its catastrophic impacts, this bill has fallen prey to political infighting and industry pressure."
Washington representative for Union of Concerned Scientists' Climate Program Liz Perera commented in a recent statement, "Congressmen Waxman and Markey have done an admirable job satisfying a lot of competing interests, but now, as the bill moves forward, Congress needs to strengthen many of the bill's provisions to ensure that we dramatically cut emissions, save consumers money, and strengthen our economy with a well-designed climate and energy policy."
Advantage has been helping customers across many industries to enjoy the carrot and manage the stick by developing and enhancing products and systems to achieve 'green' results. We would like the opportunity to help your company do the same by a utilizing variety of product development tools from "what-if" studies and simulation which lead reduced need for physical prototypes to reduction of waste & resources in the building, testing and recycling of your product.
We are here to help you be competitive! If your company is
“Going Green”, trust Advantage to lend a hand with this evolution.