The Industry’s First Smart Range Hood

U.S. Department of EnergyKitchens are a principal source of some of the most harmful pollutants generated in the home. Kitchen range hoods can mitigate the impact of these pollutants, but range hoods can be ineffective at capturing pollutants and are often not used either because of noise or because occupants are unaware of when ventilation is needed. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Newport Partners, in partnership with Broan-NuTone, will develop and validate a “smart” range hood that senses pollutants and automatically operates to remove the contaminants efficiently. The proposed smart range hood will be quiet (<1 sone), five times more energy efficient than today’s ENERGY STAR® models, and will capture nearly 100% of pollutants.

THE BENEFITS

A smart range hood can improve residential indoor air quality (IAQ), extend the lives of residents, and save billions of dollars in health-related costs annually. By effectively addressing a major indoor pollutant source with a new smart range hood at a target price point competitive with the intermediate market for standard kitchen range hoods, Newport Partners and Broan-NuTone will enable residential building envelopes to be built tighter while still preserving healthy, acceptable IAQ.

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Newport Speaks at National Fire Protection Association Annual Conference

Sam_NFPA-conference2017On Monday, June 5th, Sam Bowles of Newport Partners spoke at the 2017 NFPA Conference and Expo in Boston, MA. Recently, Newport had completed a study on behalf of NFPA regarding the perceptions of different stakeholder groups in state’s that have mandatory requirements for home fire sprinkler systems. At the conference, Mr. Bowles discussed some of the findings of that study and how these results can be leveraged for other state’s that might be looking to adopt requirements for sprinkler systems in new construction.

The debate on whether or not to adopt code requirements mandating sprinklers has been ongoing across the country for a long time now. In 2006, sprinklers were included in the International Residential Code (IRC) but were added as an optional appendix and in 2008 they became a standard requirement. However, since being included in the IRC, only two states, Maryland and California, have adopted statewide sprinkler requirements. The debate still continues across the nation, with fire protection professionals heavily advocating for sprinkler requirements while being met with pushback from some other stakeholder groups.

What made this study interesting is that nothing like it has been done before. The majority of previous studies related to home fire sprinkler systems looked at the cost impact, but until we had states that had experience without mandatory requirements, we could not look at how some of the more common perceptions that hindered widespread adoption actually played out. Maryland and California both adopted requirements in 2011, so at the time the study was conducted, they had nearly 5 years of experience in living and working with residential sprinkler systems. (Many areas of these states actually had sprinkler requirements long before they became statewide mandates.)

Below is a summary of some of the key findings from the study. You can read the full report here.

KEY FINDINGS

NFPA_Conference2017-1

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The Internet of Things

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What is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how does this relate to Newport’s LED project? The IoT is the interconnection of any device for communication purposes either wired or wirelessly. Basically the devices would be able to sense or collect data that in turn generates some kind of response to the acquired data. With LED lighting, since LEDs are essentially computer chips that glow, the range of possibilities for the Internet of Things is almost limitless. We need lighting in our buildings so why not take advantage of the abundance of lighting, especially in commercial buildings

“Beyond simple illumination, this “Internet of Buildings” built on top of next-generation lighting systems will forever change the way we interact with the spaces in which we live.

In your kids’ elementary school, biometric sensors will track students’ alertness, subtly shifting spectrum to automatically boost their focus any time it starts to wane.

Around the corner at the grocery store, beacons embedded in connected fixtures will track every movement you (or your mobile phone) make — from produce to dairy — beaming coupons at you along the way.

streaming-data-codeEven the lights around your home will be intelligent, learning from and responding to the steady stream of data generated by your wearable devices — using light to help de-stress you after a long day or to perk you up on a cold, dark winter morning.

All of these scenarios (and more like them) are just around the corner. Intelligent lighting will be one of the first markets to realize the dream of the Internet of Things — millions (if not billions) of connected devices, silently sensing and acting on our behalf.” Excerpted from techcrunch.com

As you can see there is a lot of buzz about what the Internet of Things can be and how it can help simplify our lives. Though major concern about interconnecting all of the devices is security. Would it be possible to access a network through one of these internet enabled devices?

While still in it’s infancy, we will see how the market accepts and adopts this newer technology.

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LEDs Highlight Open House in Stillwater, NY

Visitors of this past weekend’s open house event in Stillwater, NY left very impressed with the 100% LED lighting system inside the new home from Belmonte Builders.  The EnergyStar certified home is one of five homes participating in a NYSERDA Solid-State Lighting Demonstration Project throughout New York.   Each home includes a 100% LED lighting system and is monitored for energy usage and costs for a minimum 9 month period.

matt led

A couple listens as Matt Evans (Newport) explains the savings produced to date for the 5 homes involved in the Solid-State Lighting Demonstration Project. 

Throughout the daylong event, visitors were invited to tour the home and learn about the various LED lighting installed.  Newport Ventures was on hand to conduct lighting demonstrations and discuss the various benefits of LED technology.  Also on display was Lutron’s Caséta Wireless control system, which is installed throughout the home providing the homeowners with added convenience, aesthetics, security, and savings.

Of the five homes included in this project, the Brown residence has the largest lighting system with a total of 155 bulbs and fixtures installed.  (By comparison, the home with the second most bulbs/fixtures hadonly 97).  Included in these are a variety of advanced LED technologies, such as under cabinet lighting and surface mount LEDs.  With such a large number of lights in the home, the use of highly efficient LED lights, as well as the Lutron Caséta control system are critical to helping the homeowners keep their electric bills low.

While only two months’ worth of data has been collected, early results show the potential for savings to exceed $250 in just one year!  The total cost for lighting during the months of December and January was $25.26.  By comparison, a typical code built home (assuming 50% incandescent and 50% high efficacy bulbs) would have cost anywhere from $70-$97, depending on bulb specs.  The home will continue to be monitored for the next seven months with the final results to be summarized in a final report for NYSERDA.

Learn more about this project and the benefits of LED lighting by visiting our project page!

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LEDs Provide More Than Just Energy Savings

By now, most consumers have heard that LED lighting is supposed to be long-lasting, highly efficient lighting.  Imagine only changing your light bulb every 20 years or so!  The data we have collected so far in our NYSERDA LED Lighting Demonstration Project clearly supports those claims.  The LEDs are performing as expected with regards to efficiency and cost savings, but again, we expected that to take place.  You can read our project update report for more info on consumption, costs, and savings.

Unfortunately, efficiency is not enough to drive market growth of LED lighting technology.  If consumers don’t like them, they won’t buy them.  If there is no demand for them, builders and electricians won’t spec them to be included in their homes.  Even as code requirements are pushing the market towards “high efficacy” lighting, a recent U.S. Department of Energy Residential Field Study shows a significant percentage of homes nationwide are not meeting this requirement.

Many consumers are wary of energy efficient lighting products, partially due to bad experiences with CFLs, and are the savings are not enough to persuade them to take the LED leap.  But LED technology has seen rapid advancement and product expansion in recent years and their capabilities and benefits far exceed simple energy and cost savings.  When Newport first started this project, the number of different types of

LED-Edison-Bulbs

LED Edison Bulb

bulbs and fixtures was extremely limited.  That was just two short years ago!  Fast-forward to today, and our options are virtually limitless.  Bulbs and fixtures come with all different specifications for brightness (lumens), color (kelvin), and efficacy (lumens/watt).  They are more compatible with smart light systems and have capabilities that far exceed than their predecessors.

And what’s most important is that when experiencing LED lighting first hand, the vast majority of people not only like the LEDs, but they actually prefer them to other options.  Our Consumer Perception Report highlights the results of several lighting survey’s conducted over the first year of the project.  The results clearly show that most participants (over 60%) prefer the LED light when compared side by side with an equivalent incandescent and CFL bulb.

Ok, but lighting in a small box is a lot different than lighting a big room or an entire home.  As part of the project, we asked our participating builders and homeowners to provide some feedback about the lighting systems in their homes.  Here’s what they had to say:

 

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Homeowner Testimonials

“We tried CFLs in our old house and they would burn out in less than a year.  We are very happy with the LED’s that are in this home.  We like and use the dimmers all the time. We would have not chosen dimmer switches to start but, since we have them now we really enjoy using them. We are especially fond of the under cabinet lights, which we like to use at night, and the LED lights in the ceilings.”  (Homeowners- Canadaigua, NY)  

“The LED lighting and Lutron system rocks! It was extremely easy to install and program. As for the convenience, life changing. You approach leaving and coming home in a whole new manor. We never forget to turn a light off, or struggle to find a switch on the way in with our hands full. Going to bed has changed as well. It will change the way you think about moving from room to room.”  (Homeowners- Saratoga, NY) 

“I really like the quality of light and that it is low cost.  The lighting in our new home is much better than the lighting in our previous house.  Overall, our experience with the LEDs has been very positive, it’s low-cost, modern, and easy to use. I will continue to purchase LEDs in the future and would definitely recommend them to friends and family.” (Homeowners- New Paltz, NY)

Builder Testimonials

“The LED lights in the home exceeded all of our expectations.  The whole process, from design to installation was very smooth and the lights really make the home look beautiful.  The Lutron Caseta control system is awesome and so easy to install.  We are so impressed with the system we are now offering it to our other homeowners.” (Fedyk Builders- Fairport, NY)

The homeowners in New Paltz, NY were so happy with the lighting in their home and the Lutron Caséta system that the builder (Greenhill Contracting) now offers it as a package available with every
home.  Since, completing the home for this project, the builder now installs 100% LED lighting in all homes.

“Since installing the LED lights in 20 Cooper St., I install LED 100% in all of my homes.” (Greenhill Contracting- New Paltz, NY)

Check out our most recent update for the LED Demonstration Project and see how the homes are performing in regards to energy and cost savings.  To learn more about this project, and for more information on Residential LED Lighting, visit our project page.

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The Old is New Again! 1830s Farm House Gets Energy Efficient Upgrades

A couple of weeks ago, Newport’s David Brignati and Matt Evans accompanied other members of the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association’s, Green Building Science Committee on a site visit to a completely restored farm house.  Built back in the 1830’s this was certainly not your typical restoration.  One of the requirements of the project was to keep the home looking much as it did nearly 200 years ago, anfarm housed from the outside the house looks no different.  However, hidden within those historic walls (as well as the basement, backyard, and attic) are innovative technologies, systems, and building practices that make this old home new again.

Located in the town of Clifton Park, NY the farm house was purchased by the current owners in 2010.  The energy retrofit would occur in various stages over the next couple years, ultimately resulting in the home achieving LEED Platinum and NGBS Emerald certifications, and a final HERS rating of 7 (41 without PV).  Through the combination of improved insulation, high efficacy lighting, solar panels, and heating and cooling systems, this home’s energy bill is only $17 a month!  Even more, at the end of the year the home’s solar panels create a surplus of electricity that the homeowners sell back to the utilities, thus zeroing out the homes energy consumption.

Some of the features of this home include:

 solar panels.png The backyard has five pole mounted solar arrays producing 8.4 KW. Additional solar panels were added to the garage roof to off-set the charging of two electric vehicles. The homes lighting consumption is reduced by the use of 100% CFL or LED’s.
 heat pumps.png In the basement a 3-ton water-to-air geothermal heat pump is installed that relies on only one 450 foot closed vertical ground loop. Two thermal solar flat panels in the backyard are used to produce domestic hot water with the access feeding the geothermal heat pump during the heating season.
 hrv.png The home uses a 200 CFM heat recovery ventilator (HRV) for fresh air exchange. This same system ties into the homes bathrooms thus eliminating the need for spot exhaust only ventilation. The homes the shell tightness level achieved a 2.5 air changes per hour. So ventilation and fresh air is highly recommended.
 insulation The walls of the home are double studded and were sprayed with a soy based closed cell foam to achieve an R-52 rating. The attic was spray foamed as well achieving an R-86.  The walls of the home are covered with clay allowing them to hold/release excess moisture.
 carport.png The solar charging station installed in the garage charges the Nissan Leaf. The other car is charged by using your typical wall outlet.  Both of the cars are charged by electricity that comes in from the solar panels mounted on the roof of the garage.
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NY Lighting Study Shining Bright on LEDs

Newport Ventures is well into the data collection phase in our LED Lighting Demonstration project being conducted on behalf of NYSERDA.  The project, which includes 100% LED lighting in 5 homes throughout the state, has now completed installation on 4 out of 5 of the homes, with the last one to be completed this fall.  Each of the homes will be monitored over the course of three seasons.

The table below highlights the results of the data collection to date.  The top portion shows average monthly kWh and costs, as well as the total consumption and cost of the LED lighting to date for each home.  The bottom portion provides estimated savings if the same home were to have alternate lighting packages.  The first is a typical code built home, using 50% incandescent bulbs and 50% high efficacy bulbs.*  The second shows the savings if the same home were to have 100% incandescent bulbs.

*assumes 60W Incandescent and 13W High Efficacy bulbs

LED table 1

Certainly the LEDs are saving these homeowners money today and helping to lower their utility bills each month, as seen in the charts below.  However, the real results will be seen over the lifetime of these bulbs.  A typical incandescent bulb lasts maybe 2 years, while a CFL is expected to last maybe 5.  LEDs however have a rated lifetime of 22 years!  Multiply the cost savings of each of these homes over that time period, and the savings are now in the thousands and you never had to replace a light bulb!

LED chart 1

A Bulb Comparison

Our most recent home to have completed the installation of the LED lighting system is located in Canandaigua, NY.  Data collection is set to begin this month.  To finish off the 100% LED system, we recently replaced 3 of their plug in lamp bulbs, using 3-way incandescent bulb, with a single wattage LED bulb.  Over the course of the project these bulbs will be monitored with Kill-A-Watt meters to determine electrical consumption. This “real use” data collection will be useful in determining actual savings and not just assumed savings.

We considered installing 3-way LED bulbs, however the homeowners were satisfied with the light output of the single wattage bulb.  The table below highlights the expected operational costs of their old 3-way incandescent, the replacement single wattage LED, as well as a standard 3-way LED bulb.

LED table 2

As you can see, buying longer-lasting, more efficient light bulbs can really pay off over time. Over a 22+ year period, it will cost you over $270 to keep one lamp lit with a 3-way incandescent bulb. By comparison, it would cost $30 using a single LED light bulb, a savings of more than $240.  And that’s just 1 bulb!  Now think about how many bulbs you have in your home.  The average home in New York has somewhere around 50-55 bulbs.  Do the math and that’s some serious cash kept in your pocket!

Learn more about our LED lighting project by visiting our project page.

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