Browsed by
Author: Andrea Goodwin

Net-Zero Energy Buildings take the Fiction out of Science Fiction

Net-Zero Energy Buildings take the Fiction out of Science Fiction

Even with all the advances of high performance buildings, I still find the concept of net-zero energy buildings (NZEB) shocking and fascinating. The technology is here (thanks in part to NEMA member products), and it feels like a realization of the futuristic buildings in science fiction movies. A few recent and upcoming NZEB projects that caught my eye: Groundbreaking recently started on Texas’s Lady Bird Johnson Middle School, which aims to be the largest net-zero public school in the Read more [...]
Smart Grid and Video Games, Part II

Smart Grid and Video Games, Part II

Last May, I wrote about how Smart Grid was integrated into one of my favorite video games, The Sims 2. At the time, I questioned how Smart Grid technologies might be featured in the game’s sequel, The Sims 3. Well, there’s no job category for electrical engineers yet, and governor Sims don’t get to make decisions about transmission corridors, but soon, Sims will be able to drive around in electric cars. The game’s publisher, EA, just announced a product placement deal with Read more [...]
News Roundup

News Roundup

Reading news is one of my favorite hobbies (it even probably ranks higher than watching TV). Below are some recent items related to the electrical industry that I found interesting. Captain Planet would approve: USA Today says that Oregon is getting the first U.S. commercial wave energy farm. I was surprised by the size of the buoys; the first one will be 150’ x 40’ and 200 tons. The expectation is that it will harness enough power for 400 homes. I’m curious to see the results Read more [...]
Electric Car Roundup

Electric Car Roundup

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for news about electric cars. Of course, as a news junkie, I might have a skewed sense of what counts as exciting. Below are some of my favorites. An interesting way to get the Christmas tree home: A man in the U.K. towed a 50-foot Christmas tree home using a G-Wiz electric car and a trailer. The pictures are wild! It makes my holiday decorations look lame in comparison. Making sense of acronyms: Autoblog Green has a helpful guide to acronyms related Read more [...]
Storing the Energy of the Future

Storing the Energy of the Future

Today, DOE announced $104.7 million in funding for projects at seven DOE National Laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. One of the project types is for Advanced Battery Prototype Fabrication and Testing Facilities. In the press release, energy storage technologies are described as “critical enabling technologies for developing advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles and meeting the administration’s goal of putting one Read more [...]
A Plug-in Pilot

A Plug-in Pilot

I just heard about The EV Project, which officially launched last month. The Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), using a $99.8 million grant from DOE, plans to install 11,210 chargers for electric vehicles in five states. During the 36-month project, chargers will be installed in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State to power 4,700 cars. I’m really curious to see how this pilot will progress. Electric cars are coming [back], and the question is how, Read more [...]
World’s Largest Pedestrian Bridge Soaks up Rays

World’s Largest Pedestrian Bridge Soaks up Rays

A few days ago, The Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane officially opened, and it’s been referred to as the “largest pedestrian and cycle bridge.” It’s 470 meters long, and around 36,500 people will use the bridge each week. It features a programmable LED lighting system that can be adjusted for different effects and events. What’s really cool, though, is that the bridge has 84 solar panels that can fully power the bridge in most lighting configurations, and provide 75% of Read more [...]
Even the Wind Farms are Bigger in Texas

Even the Wind Farms are Bigger in Texas

The turbines started turning on the world’s largest wind farm yesterday in Texas. According to an article from the AP, the 627 turbines cover 100,000 acres over four counties, with a record-setting capacity of 781.5 megawatts. I didn’t realize that Texas is #1 in wind generation in the U.S. (go here to check out a map showing wind generation by state). Interestingly, the land also functions as cotton fields.  The Dallas Morning News reported that a lack of transmission lines makes Read more [...]
Where in the World is Smart Metering?

Where in the World is Smart Metering?

Headlines involving smart metering seem to have been multiplying in the last few months, including projects that involve NEMA members (recent press releases here, here, and here). To see an interesting visual representation of metering initiatives on a global scale, check out this Google map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=115519311058367534348.0000011362ac6d7d21187. It's maintained by the Supplier Requirements for Smart Metering (SRSM) Project Read more [...]
Dishwasher Safe Typing

Dishwasher Safe Typing

NEMA standards make appearances in a number of places—lighting, medical imaging equipment, motors, and many other product categories.  I recently heard about a surprising use of a NEMA standard—a dishwasher safe, waterproof computer keyboard. The company says the products are manufactured to NEMA 4X specifications.  This refers to NEMA 250, Enclosures for Electrical Equipment (1000 Volts Maximum).  I haven't purchased one of the keyboards, so I can't vouch for Read more [...]