OK, before we get to that, I have some great news to pass along for readers who work with backup generators and the like. We’ve been doing Kohler-sponsored webinar series for a couple of years now in this area, and for 2016, Julius Neudorfer will present a five-part series on emergency backup power systems. Julius is the CTO and founder of North American Access Technologies, with a client roster including a number of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Some of you may recall him from a couple of previous ES webinars.

We will put up registration pages on a rolling basis, but for now, here are the dates and topics in this year’s lineup.


March 3 – Part 1: Defining and Evaluating Backup Load Requirements (Sizing for Present & Future Load)

April 5 – Part 2: Understanding Generator Capacity Ratings (Avoiding under- or oversizing)

September 28 – Part 3: Generator Integration To The Electrical System (Retrofit to Existing Buildings vs. New Construction)

November 9 – Part 4: Backup Run-Times (Fuel Autonomy and Storage Capacity)

December 6 – Part 5: Ensuring Total System Availability (Maintenance & Testing)


If this is in your job description or your work is suitably affected by the success of these systems, be sure to join us. Visit our webinars homepage at http://webinars.esmagazine.com to register. As always, they’re free, and we archive each webinar in case you register and need to come by after the live event to watch it.


France’s Rooftop Choice

Doing some year-end bookmark cleanup on the laptop, I found an item from last spring I meant to pass along. France has passed a law regarding all new construction in commercial zones, requiring that a certain amount of each roof be covered with either solar panels or plants.

As government is often the art of compromise (at least if it’s getting anything done), the initial proposal was more sweeping, targeting the entire roof of any new building. Still, it’s a significant measure, with the uptick in above-ground foliage expected to offset some of the “heat island” effect found in typical urban areas.



Antipodean roofing made energy-related news of its own last year. A Sydney home was heralded for the “first integrated photovoltaic thermal system in Australia,” as described by Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry.

Manufactured by Bluescope, the system includes a thermal duct configuration that warms and cools air to supplement existing HVAC. It’s a small step in a residential setting, of course, but the government’s eyes are on expanding this sort of product’s reach, improving its efficiency, and lowering its overall cost.

Keep it tuned right here for further updates on creative load-lowering efforts from around the globe. ES