Tidbits from Nebraska and the Nation...
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Commercial Buildings

Federal Energy Department Announces Online Training Course on “Re-tuning” Commercial Buildings
The U.S. Department of Energy announced March 5, 2012, the availability of an online training course to help building owners, operators, contractors, and students “re-tune” commercial buildings.

Building operators can re-tune their facilities to improve energy efficiency by first collecting and analyzing data from their buildings' automation systems to identify energy-wasting operational problems. They can then adjust their automated control systems to correct inefficiencies at low or no cost, saving them money on their energy bills.

This online training started through a five-year pilot program, and has already provided classroom instruction and field training to more than 300 commercial building operators, engineers and energy managers from more than 30 organizations.


Ethanol Plant

Nebraska Ethanol Sales Top Ten Billion Gallons
Ethanol sales from Nebraska have officially reached 10 billion gallons, according to the Nebraska Ethanol Board. The history making tank-full was pumped in late 2011, after 34 years of ethanol being sold in the state.  According to the Energy Information Administration, 2011 U.S. ethanol production was 14.4 billion gallons.  The country’s total annual motor fuel usage is around 134 billion gallons.  Ethanol accounts for 10.7 percent of total U.S supply.

2012 projections show that Nebraska drivers could purchase close to seven hundred million more gallons this year.   Ninety-one percent of the state’s ethanol production goes to U.S. domestic markets, five percent goes overseas and only four percent stays in Nebraska.

Classroom Activities for Ages 8-12:  Renewable Energy and Biodiesel Curriculum
The Biodiesel Education Program at the University of Idaho has created a seven-lesson curriculum to help kids 8-12 understand the concepts of energy and renewable energy. The renewable energy focus of this curriculum is biodiesel.


USDA Renewable Energy Investments Map
The curriculum features hands-on activities such as the energy tour, a matching game, as fossil fuels timeline, a renewable energy model and viscosity wands.

The curriculum was written for 4-H clubs, but can easily be used by elementary school teachers as well.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Launches Renewable Energy Website
The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a new energy website that will provide fast and efficient access to USDA energy efficiency and renewable energy data. 

An interactive map shows where the USDA provides investment support for renewable energy initiatives.  A renewable energy tool provides data on national, state and county levels based on renewable energy production and demand.  USDA also added an energy matrix geared toward workers in both the public and private sectors searching for energy solution, project and program information.

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