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Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
BCAP Biomass Crop Assistance Program

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) is part of the latest Farm Bill to assist forestland owners and operators with matching payments for eligible material by a qualified Biomass Conversion Facility. The objective of this program is to stimulate the production of biomass based energy throughout the United States.

Jan 8, 2010 3001-1431
Biodiesel Fuel

There are broad and increasing interests across the nation in using domestic, renewable bioenergy. Virginia farmers and transportation fleets use considerable amounts of diesel fuel in their operations. Biodiesel is an excellent alternative fuel for the diesel engines. Biodiesel can be produced from crops commonly grown in Virginia, such as soybean and canola, and has almost the same performance as petrodiesel. The purpose of this publication is to introduce the basics of biodiesel fuel and address some myths and answer some questions about biodiesel fuel before farmers and fleet owners use this type of fuel.

May 1, 2009 442-880
Biomethane Technology

This publication provides a general overview of anaerobic digestion and the current status of biomethane technology on livestock farms in the United States. It is part of the Bioenergy Engineering Education Program (BEEP) of the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. Most of the discussion uses dairy manure as an example of feedstock for an anaerobic digester. Resources which provide more detailed information on anaerobic digesters are listed.

May 1, 2009 442-881
Conserving Energy with Landscaping

Winter winds increase the rate of air exchange between the interior and exterior of a house, lowering the house’s interior temperature and thereby increasing the heating demand. In a windy site, a windbreak planting (also called a shelterbelt) can account for up to a 50-percent wind reduction and up to a 25-percent reduction in heating fuel consumption. A windbreak is a single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs in a linear configuration.

May 1, 2009 426-712
Energy Series: What about the Heating System?

What is Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency?

The efficiency of a gas (natural or propane) or oil furnace is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), which describes the heat produced from the energy used. This rating takes into consideration losses from pilot lights, start-up, and stopping. For example, a furnace with an AFUE rating of 80 converts 80% of the fuel it burns into usable heat. New furnaces usually rate in the mid 70s to low 80s, whereas older furnaces will be in the 50s or 60s. ENERGY STAR® qualified oil and gas furnaces have annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 83% and 90%, or higher, making them up to 15% more efficient than standard models. Unlike the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings, the AFUE does not consider the unit’s electricity use for fans and blowers.

May 1, 2009 2901-9005
Energy Series: Estimating Home Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use

If you're trying to decide whether to invest in a more energy-efficient appliance or you'd like to determine your electricity loads, you may want to estimate appliance energy consumption.

Estimating Energy Consumption

Use this formula to estimate an appliance's energy:

(Wattage X Hours Used per Day ÷ 1000 = Daily Kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption (1 kilowatt (kW) = 1,000 Watts)

May 1, 2009 2901-9014
Energy Series: Federal Energy Tax Credit or Virginia Energy Rebate Dec 1, 2009 2911-9026
Energy Series: What About Refrigerators and Freezers? Aug 27, 2009 2908-9022
Energy Series: What About the Air Conditioning System?

As you begin the process of selecting the most efficient air conditioning system for your home, investigate the critical issues of system size, placement, installation, and contractor experience. Your goal is to obtain an efficient system by: sizing the system for the specific cooling load of your home; selecting and properly installing the thermostats or controls; designing a ductwork system to deliver the correct amount of conditioned air to each space; and sealing and insulating all ductwork.

May 1, 2009 2901-9001
Energy Series: What Can Builders Do to Help Prevent Moisture Problems in New Construction?

Buildings should be designed and built to provide comfortable and healthy levels of relative humidity. They should also prevent both liquid water from migrating through building components and water vapor from being trapped in building assemblies, like walls.

Moisture prevention includes quality construction to shed water away from the building and its foundation; vapor (region dependent) and air barrier systems that hinder the flow of air infiltration and water vapor; quality building products and installation that can help reduce the chance of leaks; and cooling and heating systems designed to provide comfort throughout the year. The following checklist provides a list of actions that you and your builder can do or install in your home to make it less prone to moisture problems.

May 1, 2009 2901-9012
Energy Series: What Does the Shape of the House Have to do with Energy Efficiency?

In a home, heat energy is transferred among all materials and substances that are of different temperatures—within the building materials, inside the building itself, and outside the building envelope. The term “building envelope” refers to all of the external building materials, windows, and walls that enclose the internal space. Heat moves only when there is a difference in temperature, and it always moves from the warm side to the cool side. Heat will continue to “flow” until any touching materials reach the same temperature. However, we usually want the inside of a home to have a different temperature from the outside.

May 1, 2009 2901-9013
Energy Series: What about Appliances? Aug 24, 2009 2908-9015
Energy Series: What about Caulking and Weather-Stripping? Aug 25, 2009 2908-9017
Energy Series: What about Dishwashers? Aug 26, 2009 2908-9018
Energy Series: What about Fluorescent Lighting?

How Much Can I Save by Switching to Compact Fluorescent Lamps?

While compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are initially more expensive, you should see a quick return on your investment when you replace your most frequently used incandescent light bulbs with CFLS. A 26- or 28-watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) can replace a 100-watt incandescent bulb, and it will last about 8,000 hours (compared an incandescent bulb, which usually lasts about 1,000 hours). Purchasing the 26- or 28-watt fluorescent bulb saves over 70 watts worth of energy. On average, each bulb can save more than $30 in electricity costs over its lifetime and prevent more than 450 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions.

May 1, 2009 2901-9004
Energy Series: What about House Design and Room Location? Aug 26, 2009 2908-9019
Energy Series: What about Insulation?

Insulation is rated in terms of thermal resistance, called R-value, which indicates the resistance to heat flow. Although insulation can slow heat flow—conduction, convection and radiation—its greatest impact is on conduction.

Higher R-values corresponds to greater insulation effectiveness. The R-value of thermal insulation depends on the type of material, the thickness and density. When calculating the R-value of a multilayered installation, the R-values of the individual layers are added.

May 1, 2009 2901-9006
Energy Series: What about Moisture? Aug 27, 2009 2908-9020
Energy Series: What about Mold?

Mold has received a lot of attention of late because of high profile lawsuits and television news broadcasts that have highlighted the potential hazards and liabilities associated with indoor mold. What is mold? Molds, along with mildews, yeasts, and mushrooms, all belong to the kingdom fungi. Fungi are unicellular or multicellular organisms that primarily use absorption as a means to obtain energy from their environment, unlike green plants, which use chlorophyll to obtain energy from sunlight. The term “mold” describes unwanted visible fungal growth. “Mildew” is fungi that grows on fabrics or that causes plant disease. The term “yeast” is fungi that are unicellular when cultured.

May 1, 2009 2901-9008
Energy Series: What about Radiant Barriers? Aug 27, 2009 2908-9021
Energy Series: What about Using Ceiling Fans?

Can Ceiling Fans Lower My Utility Bill?

Ceiling fans create a breeze, so room occupants feel cooler and more comfortable. With a ceiling fan running, you can raise the thermostat setting by 2 to 4 degrees during the cooling season with no reduction in comfort. Increasing the room temperature by even two degrees can cut your cooling costs 4 to 6%.

May 1, 2009 2901-9002
Energy Series: What about Ventilation? Aug 27, 2009 2908-9024
Energy Series: What about Windows?

How Can I Determine the Energy Performance of a Window?

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) offers a voluntary testing and certification program for thermal performance for windows and residential door products with glass. The NFRC does not conduct structural characteristics, such as impact-resistance, but rather serves as a complementary program that can test the whole window (including frame) for the following characteristics: U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Visible Transmittance, Air Leakage, and Condensation Resistance (see sample NFRC label).

May 1, 2009 2901-9010
Energy Series: What about the Ductwork?

Air distribution or duct systems are designed to supply rooms with air that is “conditioned”—that is, heated or cooled by the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment—and to recirculate or return the same volume of air back to the HVAC equipment. Your duct system has two main air transfer systems: 1) supply, and 2) return. The supply side delivers the conditioned air to the home through individual room registers. The return side picks up inside air and delivers it to the air handler of your central system where heat and moisture are either removed or added and then delivered to the supply side. All of the air drawn into the return duct(s) is conditioned and should be delivered back through the supply registers.

May 1, 2009 2901-9003
Energy Series: What about the Laundry Area?

Why Should I Worry About Energy Use in the Laundry Room?

The laundry room can be a big consumer of energy—more than 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year—and water—and a big producer of unwanted heat and humidity in summer. It makes good sense to think about both the location and the appliances in it if you want to run an energy efficient laundry. And there are new washers and dryers on the market now that make it easier than ever to do so.

May 1, 2009 2901-9007
Energy Series: What about the Roof? Aug 27, 2009 2908-9023
Energy Series: What about the Water Heater?

Heating water is the third largest energy expense in your home, after heating and cooling the entire space; and, it can account for 15-25% of your utility bill. It’s not hard to see why a family of four, each taking a 5-minute shower a day under inefficient showerheads, can use 700 gallons of water in a week representing a 3-year supply of drinking water for one person! There are several ways to cut down the amount you spend on heating water: a) insulate your water heater and pipes; b) reduce the amount of hot water you use; and c) turn down the thermostat on your water heater.

May 1, 2009 2901-9009
Energy Series: What are the Differences Between Mobile and Modular Homes?

Mobile and modular homes are factory-built and generally differ in how much of the construction occurs at the factory. The greater the work at the factory, the less labor is needed where the home will be located.

Mobile Homes

A mobile home (also called “manufactured home” or “HUD code home”) is one that is built entirely at a factory and usually requires hook-up of utilities and certain appliances on delivery. A two-story mobile home generally requires more assembly on site. Today’s mobile home may be installed on a temporary or a permanent foundation and could be considered real property by the local property appraiser. The mobile home owner should consult with his or her insurance company to determine if the mobile home qualifies for real property insurance. On installation, a mobile home’s wheels and axles may be removed, but the chassis must stay in place. A mobile home must be built in accordance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code that supersedes state or local building codes.

May 1, 2009 2901-9011
Energy Series: What is the Whole-House Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency? Aug 27, 2009 2908-9025
Fuel Ethanol

As energy prices reach historic highs, there is a broad interest across the state in utilizing and producing renewable bioenergy from domestic agricultural products. Nationwide, it is expected that a 20 percent replacement of petroleum usage will happen over the next ten years. This is equivalent to 35 billion gallons of alternative fuel use by 2017, with fuel ethanol playing an important role in this transition. Fuel ethanol can be blended with gasoline (from 10 percent to 85 percent), and thus reduce the amount of gasoline used. In the United States, corn kernels are commonly used for producing fuel ethanol, and thus reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oils. The purpose of this publication is to introduce the basics of fuel ethanol and answer questions regarding fuel ethanol.

May 1, 2009 442-884
Gear Up and Throttle Down -- Saving Fuel
"Gear Up and Throttle Down" is a fuel-saving practice suitable for light drawbar loads (less than 65 percent of full power) when reduced PTO speed is not a problem.

For the most efficient operation, a tractor's engine should be operated near its rated capacity. However, there are many field operations (such as light tillage, planting, cultivating, and hay raking) that do not require full tractor power. This is especially true when older implements, which were sized for a smaller tractor, are used with higher horsepower tractors. Also, many operations should be performed at a fixed field speed.

May 1, 2009 442-450
Living Well Newsletter, Volume 7, Issue 1 Apr 23, 2013 370-107
Living Well Newsletter, Volume 9, Issue 1 Aug 8, 2013 FCS-46P
Predicting Tractor Diesel Fuel Consumption Aug 24, 2010 442-073
Small-Scale Biodiesel Production: Safety, Fuel Quality, and Waste Disposal Considerations

Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning, renewable fuel that is a feasible alternative to fossil-based diesel fuel. Largely due to historically high energy prices, concerns over the environmental impact of fossil fuel, and a desire for energy independence, citizens of Virginia have become increasingly interested in renewable alternative fuels, including biodiesel fuel. A previous Virginia Cooperative Extension publication (see Biodiesel Fuel under References) discusses the basics of biodiesel fuel, including terminology, engine compatibility, engine warranty, biodiesel storage, fuel performance, cold temperature concerns, and emissions. This publication addresses producing one’s own biodiesel fuel from waste oil, fats, and oilseed crops. Currently, there are many small-scale biodiesel producers (ranging in size from several gallons to several hundred gallons per batch). There are significant safety considerations when operating small-scale processors. In addition, the fuel quality and the by-product disposal need to be closely monitored to assure engines are not damaged and regulations are met. The purpose of this document is to address safety, fuel quality, and waste disposal related to small-scale production. We present a general discussion of these issues based on a case study of four small-scale biodiesel processors conducted cooperatively by James Madison University (JMU), Virginia Tech (VT), the Virginia Clean Cities Collation, and Blue Ridge Clean Fuels Inc.

May 1, 2009 442-885
Standby Electric Generators for Emergency Farm Use

An emergency source of power is essential for any farm with mechanically ventilated production facilities, bulk milk-handling equipment, automated feeding systems, or facilities requiring constant and consistent heat or refrigeration. A standby power generator is an excellent investment to prevent costly losses during local power failures. This publication provides guidelines to make the selection, sizing, and operation of standby generators easier.

May 1, 2009 442-067
Using the Energy Resource Guide for Virginia Website

Energy is one of the hottest topics being discussed among Virginians. Whether it is the cost of fuel or how to reduce our consumption of an energy source, we are all searching for new ideas.

May 1, 2009 354-501