Application modernization overview

Application modernization is the process of updating legacy applications leveraging modern technologies, enhancing performance and making it adaptable to evolving business speeds by infusing cloud native principles like DevOps, Infrastructure-as-code (IAC) and so on. Application modernization starts with assessment of current legacy applications, data and infrastructure and applying the right modernization strategy (rehost, re-platform, refactor or rebuild) to achieve the desired result.

While rebuild results in maximum benefit, there is a need for high degree of investment, whereas rehost is about moving applications and data as such to cloud without any optimization and this requires less investments while value is low. Modernized applications are deployed, monitored and maintained, with ongoing iterations to keep pace with technology and business advancements. Typical benefits realized would range from increased agility, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness, while challenges include complexity and resource demands. Many enterprises are realizing that moving to cloud is not giving them the desired value nor agility/speed beyond basic platform-level automation. The real problem lies in how the IT is organized, which reflects in how their current applications/services are built and managed (refer to Conway’s law). This, in turn, leads to the following challenges:

  • Duplicative or overlapping capabilities offered by multiple IT systems/components create sticky dependencies and proliferations, which impact productivity and speed to market.
  • Duplicative capabilities across applications and channels give rise to duplicative IT resources (e.g., skills and infrastructure)
  • Duplicative capabilities (including data) resulting in duplication of business rules and the like give rise to inconsistent customer experience.
  • Lack of alignment of IT capabilities to business capabilities impacts time to market and business-IT. In addition, enterprises end up building several band-aids and architectural layers to support new business initiatives and innovations.

Hence, application modernization initiatives need to be focusing more on the value to business and this involves significant element of transformation of the applications to business capabilities aligned components and services. The biggest challenge with this is the amount of investment needed and many CIOs/CTOs are hesitant to invest due to the cost and timelines involved in realizing value. Many are addressing this via building accelerators that could be customized for enterprise consumption that helps accelerate specific areas of modernization and one such example from IBM is IBM Consulting Cloud Accelerators. While attempting to drive acceleration and optimize cost of modernization, Generative AI is becoming a critical enabler to drive change in how we accelerate modernization programs. We will explore key areas of acceleration with an example in this article.

A simplified lifecycle of application modernization programs (not meant to be exhaustive) is depicted below. Discovery focuses on understanding legacy application, infrastructure, data, interaction between applications, services and data and other aspects like security. Planning breaks down the complex portfolio of applications into iterations to be modernized to establish an iterative roadmap—and establishing an execution plan to implement the roadmap.

Blueprint/Design phase activities change based on the modernization strategy (from decomposing application and leveraging domain-driven design or establish target architecture based on new technology to build executable designs). Subsequent phases are build and test and deploy to production. Let us explore the Generative AI possibilities across these lifecycle areas.

Discovery and design:

The ability to understand legacy applications with minimal SME involvement is a critical acceleration point. This is because, in general, SMEs are busy with systems lights-on initiatives, while their knowledge could be limited based on how long they have been supporting the systems. Collectively, discovery and design is where significant time is spent during modernization, whereas development is much easier once the team has decoded the legacy application functionality, integration aspects, logic and data complexity.

Modernization teams perform their code analysis and go through several documents (mostly dated); this is where their reliance on code analysis tools becomes important. Further, for re-write initiatives, one needs to map functional capabilities to legacy application context so as to perform effective domain-driven design/decomposition exercises. Generative AI becomes very handy here through its ability to correlate domain/functional capabilities to code and data and establish business capabilities view and connected application code and data—of course the models need to be tuned/contextualized for a given enterprise domain model or functional capability map. Generative AI-assisted API mapping called out in this paper is a mini exemplar of this. While the above is for application decomposition/design, event-storming needs process maps and this is where Generative AI assists in contextualizing and mapping extracts from process mining tools. Generative AI also helps generate use cases based on code insights and functional mapping. Overall, Generative AI helps de-risk modernization programs via ensuring adequate visibility to legacy applications as well as dependencies.

Generative AI also helps generate target design for specific cloud service provider framework through tuning the models based on a set of standardized patterns (ingress/egress, application services, data services, composite patterns, etc.). Likewise, there are several other Generative AI use cases that include generating of target technology framework-specific code patterns for security controls. Generative AI helps to generate detail design specifications, for example, user stories, User Experience Wire Frames, API Specifications (e.g., Swagger files), component relationship diagram and component interaction diagrams.


One of the difficult tasks of a modernization program is to be able to establish a macro roadmap while balancing parallel efforts versus sequential dependencies and identifying co-existence scenarios to be addressed. While this is normally done as a one-time task—continuous realignment through Program Increments (PIs)—planning exercises incorporating execution level inputs is far more difficult. Generative AI comes in handy to be able to generate roadmaps based on historical data (applications to domain area maps, effort and complexity factors and dependency patterns, etc.), applying this to applications in the scope of a modernization program—for a given industry or domain.

The only way to address this is to make it consumable via a suite of assets and accelerators that can address enterprise complexity. This is where Generative AI plays a significant role in correlating application portfolio details with discovered dependencies.

Build and test:

Generating code is one of the most widest known Generative AI use case, but it is important to be able to generate a set of related code artifacts ranging from IAC (Terraform or Cloud Formation Template), pipeline code/configurations, embed security design points (encryption, IAM integrations, etc.), application code generation from swaggers or other code insights (from legacy) and firewall configurations (as resource files based on services instantiated, etc.). Generative AI helps generate each of the above through an orchestrated approach based on predefined application reference architectures built from patterns—while combining outputs of design tools.

Testing is another key area; Generative AI can generate the right set of test cases and test code along with test data so as to optimize the test cases being executed.


There are several last mile activities that typically takes days to weeks based on enterprise complexity. The ability to generate insights for security validation (from application and platform logs, design points, IAC, etc.) is a key use case that will help assist accelerated security review and approval cycles. Generating configuration management inputs (for CMDB)and changing management inputs based on release notes generated from Agility tool work items completed per release are key Generative AI leverage areas.

While the above-mentioned use cases across modernization phases appear to be a silver bullet, enterprise complexities will necessitate contextual orchestration of many of the above Generative AI use cases-based accelerators to be able to realize value and we are far from establishing enterprise contextual patterns that help accelerate modernization programs. We have seen significant benefits in investing time and energy upfront (and ongoing) in customizing many of these Generative AI accelerators for certain patterns based on potential repeatability.

Let us now examine a potential proven example:

Example 1: Re-imagining API Discovery with BIAN and AI for visibility of domain mapping and identification of duplicative API services

The Problem: Large Global Bank has more than 30000 APIs (both internal and external) developed over time across various domains (e.g., retail banking, wholesale banking, open banking and corporate banking). There is huge potential of duplicate APIs existing across the domains, leading to higher total cost of ownership for maintaining the large API portfolio and operational challenges of dealing with API duplication and overlap. A lack of visibility and discovery of the APIs leads API Development teams to develop the same or similar APIs rather than find relevant APIs for reuse. The inability to visualize the API portfolio from a Banking Industry Model perspective constrains the Business and IT teams to understand the capabilities that are already available and what new capabilities are needed for the bank.

Generative AI-based solution approach: The solution leverages BERT Large Language Model, Sentence Transformer, Multiple Negatives Ranking Loss Function and domain rules, fine-tuned with BIAN Service Landscape knowledge to learn the bank’s API portfolio and provide ability to discover APIs with auto-mapping to BIAN. It maps API Endpoint Method to level 4 BIAN Service Landscape Hierarchy, that is, BIAN Service Operations.

The core functions of solution are the ability to:

  • Ingest swagger specifications and other API documentations and understand the API, end points, the operations and the associated descriptions.
  • Ingest BIAN details and understand BIAN Service Landscape.
  • Fine-tune with matched and unmatched mapping between API Endpoint Method and BIAN Service Landscape.
  • Provide a visual representation of the mapping and matching score with BIAN Hierarchical navigation and filters for BIAN levels, API Category and matching score.

Overall logical view (Open Stack based) is as below:

User Interface for API Discovery with Industry Model:

Key Benefits: The solution helped developers to easily find re-usable APIs, based on BIAN business domains; they had multiple filter/search options to locate APIs. In addition, teams were able to identify key API categories for building right operational resilience. Next revision of search would be based on natural language and will be a conversational use case.

The ability to identify duplicative APIs based on BIAN service domains helped establish a modernization strategy that addresses duplicative capabilities while rationalizing them.

This use case was realized within 6–8 weeks, whereas the bank would have taken a year to achieve the same result (as there were several thousands of APIs to be discovered).

Example 2: Automated modernization of MuleSoft API to Java Spring Boot API

The Problem: While the current teams were on a journey to modernize MuleSoft APIs to Java Spring boot, sheer volume of APIs, lack of documentation and the complexity aspects were impacting the speed.

Generative AI-based Solution Approach: The Mule API to Java Spring boot modernization was significantly automated via a Generative AI-based accelerator we built. We began by establishing deep understanding of APIs, components and API logic followed by finalizing response structures and code. This was followed by building prompts using IBM’s version of Sidekick AI to generate Spring boot code, which satisfies the API specs from MuleSoft, unit test cases, design document and user interface.

Mule API components were provided into the tool one by one using prompts and generated corresponding Spring boot equivalent, which was subsequently wired together addressing errors that propped up. The accelerator generated UI for desired channel that could be integrated to the APIs, unit test cases and test data and design documentation. A design documentation that gets generated consists of sequence and class diagram, request, response, end point details, error codes and architecture considerations.

Key Benefits: Sidekick AI augments Application Consultants’ daily work by pairing multi-model Generative AI technical strategy contextualized through deep domain knowledge and technology. The key benefits are as follows:

  • Generates most of the Spring Boot code and test cases that are optimized, clean and adheres to best practices—key is repeatability.
  • Ease of integration of APIs with channel front-end layers.
  • Ease of understanding of code of developer and enough insights in debugging the code.

The Accelerator PoC was completed with 4 different scenarios of code migration, unit test cases, design documentation and UI generation in 3 sprints over 6 weeks.


Many CIOs/CTOs have had their own reservations in embarking on modernization initiatives due to a multitude of challenges called out at the beginning—amount of SME time needed, impact to business due to change, operating model change across security, change management and many other organizations and so on. While Generative AI is not a silver bullet to solve all of the problems, it helps the program through acceleration, reduction in cost of modernization and, more significantly, de-risking through ensuring no current functionality is missed out. However, one needs to understand that it takes time and effort to bring LLM Models and libraries to enterprise environment needs-significant security and compliance reviews and scanning. It also requires some focused effort to improve the data quality of data needed for tuning the models. While cohesive Generative AI-driven modernization accelerators are not yet out there, with time we will start seeing emergence of such integrated toolkits that help accelerate certain modernization patterns if not many.

Source: IBM Blockchain

Creating a sustainable future with the experts of today and tomorrow

When extreme weather strikes, it hits vulnerable populations the hardest. In the current global climate of stronger and more frequent storms, heat waves, droughts and floods, how do we build more positive environmental and social impact? We have a responsibility to apply our technological expertise, resources and ecosystem to help the world become more resilient to these environmental challenges.

We need a three-pronged approach to long-term sustainability: preparing the workforce with skills for a greener future; forging strategic cross-sector partnerships; and empowering purpose-driven individuals and organizations with the right tools and technology to accelerate action.

Equipping the current and future workforce with green skills

According to new Morning Consult research commissioned by IBM, 71% of business leaders surveyed anticipate their business will emphasize sustainability skills criteria in their hiring in the next two years, with 92% expecting to invest in sustainability training in the next year. There is already a skills gap in technology and sustainability, and these results show that it continues to grow.

But when it comes to training and credentials in green and technology skills, there just aren’t that many options. IBM already has a strong track record of providing free skilling resources to communities that are underrepresented in tech, most recently with a commitment to skill 2 million learners in AI. So, to help prepare the experts of tomorrow with the green and technology skills they need, we are providing free training on IBM SkillsBuild.

Our initial curriculum offerings will include three courses: Sustainability and Technology Fundamentals, Data Analytics for Sustainability and Enterprise Thinking for Sustainability. Through these foundational courses, learners will explore topics like ecology, biodiversity and social impact to help them develop a comprehensive understanding of sustainability. 

Lessons will include real-life case studies and opportunities to learn about how AI can assist businesses in achieving sustainability goals and mitigating climate risks. The courses also provide instruction in data analytics contextualized around sustainability use cases. We will also add more advanced courses that take a deeper look at how data analysis and visualization skills can be applied to practical sustainability use cases, such as examining energy consumption in a community. 

These courses are available to high school students, university students and faculty, and adult learners worldwide. Learners are free to take as many courses as they want and to study at their own pace. Upon successful completion of some of these courses, learners receive a credential that is recognized by employers.

IBM SkillsBuild has a global reach, and it has already benefited many learners with the inspiration and resources they need to pursue careers in technology. For instance, in Nigeria, Clinton Chidubem Amam found employment as a graphics designer after completing IBM SkillsBuild courses, and his work was displayed at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year. Meanwhile, Oscar Ramirez, who arrived in the US as a child from Mexico, was able to investigate everything from AI to cybersecurity and project management while finishing his studies in Applied Mathematics and Computational Mathematics at San Jose State University.

Uniting sustainability experts in strategic partnerships

Whether it’s closing the green skills gap or tackling environmental challenges, you can’t go at it alone. Addressing big challenges requires collaboration and strategic partnership with experts that intimately understand the nuances of different domains.

That’s why IBM’s award-winning pro-bono social impact program, the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, selects innovative organizations focused on solutions worth scaling. In this program, diverse cross-sector experts in topics such as sustainable agriculture and renewable energy come together from both inside and outside IBM. Using a human-centered approach along with IBM Garage, artificial intelligence, advances in data, cloud and other technologies, these teams collaborate on projects to help vulnerable populations become more resilient to climate change.

Five organizations are now joining this initiative on the path toward clean water and sanitation for all (UN SDG6):

  • The University of Sharjah will build a model and application to monitor and forecast water access conditions in the Middle East and North Africa to support communities in arid and semi-arid regions with limited renewable internal freshwater resources.
  • The University of Chicago Trust in Delhi will aggregate water quality information in India, build and deploy tools designed to democratize access to water quality information, and help improve water resource management for key government and nonprofit organizations.
  • The University of Illinois will develop an AI geospatial foundation model to help predict rain fall and flood forecasting in mountain headwaters across the Appalachian Mountains in the US.
  • Instituto IGUÁ will create a cloud-based platform for sanitation infrastructure planning in Brazil alongside local utility providers and governments.
  • Water Corporation will design a self-administered water quality testing system for Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

We’re excited to partner with organizations that deeply understand the water and sanitization challenges that communities face. IBM has committed to support our sustainability accelerator projects, including our sustainable agriculture and clean energy cohorts, with USD 30 million worth of services by 2025.

Supporting a just transition for all

To build a more sustainable world, we must empower communities with the skills, tools and support they need to adapt to environmental hazards with resilience. By providing access to IBM technology and know-how, we can empower the communities most vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather and climate change. And by democratizing access to sustainability education through IBM SkillsBuild, we help the next generation of experts realize their passion for applying advanced technology to preserve and protect the environment. These efforts, along with our strategic partnerships, will lead us all into a more sustainable future.

Learn how you can collaborate with us to create a sustainable futureSource: IBM Blockchain

Texas sees ‘bonanza’ in carbon storage market

Texas sees ‘bonanza’ in carbon storage market

This story was originally published by Capital & Main and was republished with permission.

With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act last year, Congress and the administration of President Joe Biden made a colossal bet on nascent massive-scale technological solutions to the climate change crisis. 

Together, the laws dedicated more than $100 billion to atmospheric carbon reduction, including grants, loans and tax credits for renewable energy projects; hydrogen hubs; electric vehicle fleets; and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, or CCUS. (Some prefer a simpler phrase: carbon capture, use and storage.) 

It’s that last category that has excited politicians in hydrocarbon-rich Texas because it involves cashing in on a new round of federal subsidies to scale up an activity that oil producers have already been doing for a long time: pumping liquefied carbon gas into the ground.

With expanded federal tax credits for CCUS up for grabs, Texas wants to become the “global leader in carbon capture and sequestration,” in the words of state Sen. Kelly Hancock, a Republican who represents Tarrant County. But environmental advocates say the motivation of politicians like Hancock has nothing to do with fighting global warming and everything to do with harnessing federal incentives to drive a boom in industrial growth. 

For decades, producers have been injecting liquefied carbon gas and other fluids deep underground in order to re-pressurize aging oil wells. The practice is called secondary recovery, or enhanced oil recovery, which enables a company to squeeze the last drops out of a nearly depleted well — like pumping up a nearly empty Super Soaker. Enhanced oil recovery is the primary “U” in the CCUS acronym. Producers claim that hydrocarbons produced using the technique are “net zero,” based on the controversial assumption that the carbon going into the ground — and, theoretically, remaining trapped there — cancels out whatever carbon emissions result from burning the extracted fuels. 

The new federal incentives prioritize CCUS projects that would remove carbon gases from ambient air in an as-yet-unproven process called direct air capture and from major emissions sources, including power plants and industrial facilities, known as point-source capture. In either case, beneficiaries will need to guarantee permanent geological storage of captured carbon, either through enhanced oil recovery or through sequestration in special injection wells bored into saline formations thousands of feet under the Earth’s surface. 

The scale of the Biden administration’s investment in CCUS is historic, but federal subsidies for the industry have been around for well over a decade. Congress created the 45Q tax credit in 2008 to spur investment in carbon storage as part of a multipronged effort to combat man-made climate change. Projects eligible for 45Q credits include Class VI wells — the ones used for carbon dioxide injection and permanent geologic storage in deep underground saline formations — and Class II wells used for enhanced oil recovery. 

In the first decade of the 45Q program, the CCUS industry struggled to get off the ground. Congress boosted the dollar-per-ton amount of the 45Q credit in 2018, and then, in 2022, the program received a major shot in the arm with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Along with hiking up the value of the 45Q credit, the act drastically lowered eligibility requirements — reducing the volume of captured carbon at a qualifying facility by as much as 96 percent. 

Expansion of the 45Q credit and lowering the bar to entry triggered “a bonanza around carbon removal,” according to Tara Righetti, Occidental Chair of Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Wyoming. The act also gave billions to the Department of Energy to use for loans for CCUS projects and other clean energy initiatives.   

“Project developers are clamouring to respond to U.S. Department of Energy Funding Opportunity Announcements, tie up injection rights, and secure injection permits,” Righetti said in a January 2023 blog post. “In response, states have moved forward with efforts to assume regulatory authority for carbon sequestration and secure primacy for Class VI injection wells.” 

The main difference between Class VI and Class II injection wells comes down to whether a well is used for permanent geologic carbon sequestration (Class VI) or some other purpose, such as wastewater disposal, enhanced oil recovery or temporary hydrocarbon storage (Class II). Primacy, as Righetti described it, refers to federally delegated regulatory authority over a category of injection wells. Class VI wells fall under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is meant to safeguard underground sources of drinking water, and are consequently subject to stricter siting and construction regulations than Class II wells. At present, the Texas Railroad Commission — the state’s oil and gas regulator, which has had no jurisdiction over railroads since 2005 — has primacy over Class II injection wells, but the EPA retains authority over Class VI wells. 

Under the IRA’s expansion of 45Q, permanent geologic storage projects qualify for a significantly larger credit ($85 per ton) than utilization projects, including enhanced oil recovery ($60 per ton). Direct air capture projects, which remove ambient CO2 directly from the atmosphere, can receive $180 per ton for geologically stored CO2 and $130 per ton for captured and utilized CO2. In order to unlock the highest tiers of 45Q credits for permanent geologic storage and for direct air capture projects, Texas-based operators will need to drill many Class VI wells. But there’s a snag: The commission may still be years away from securing Class VI primacy, and the EPA’s own Class VI permitting timelines are glacial. 

Nationwide, the EPA has approved just two Class VI facilities since the program began in 2010, and there are currently 109 applications in the backlog. Only two states, Wyoming and North Dakota, have secured Class VI primacy from the EPA. (Louisiana may receive primacy by the end of 2023.) That means the most remunerative tiers of the 45Q program are essentially blocked off by regulatory red tape. At present, any company that wants to build a Class VI facility in Texas faces a potentially yearslong federal permitting process. 

Betting on the future boom in carbon capture projects, and eager to shorten permitting timelines, Texas is pressing ahead with its application to regulate Class VI wells by itself. The Railroad Commission has finished the pre-application phase for Class VI primacy and is awaiting EPA review before moving on to the formal application phase. “We hope our program will be able to streamline the process and allow for the timely issuing of Class VI permits,” Railroad Commission chief geologist Leslie Savage said in a July hearing. 

Environmental advocates say the commission has not been a responsible regulator of the Class II program and should not be trusted with Class VI primacy. “If anybody is going to be permitting this kind of activity, it ought to be the EPA, and it’s OK if the EPA is moving slowly,” said Virginia Palacios, executive director of Commission Shift, in a recent webinar about carbon capture. Commission Shift is a Laredo, Texas-based watchdog organization focused on reforming the Railroad Commission. 

All of the 45Q tiers are intended to mitigate climate change. But in hearings about CCUS-related bills in the 2023 legislative session, politicians like Hancock “did not talk about climate change,” Palacios said. “They did not talk about the need for us to address extreme weather as a result of climate change, or biodiversity loss, or impacts on low income communities on the coast,” she said. “They talked about wanting to be able to compete and sell gas to Europe and make lots of money. Many of them talked about trying to make sure that CO2 never gets regulated as a pollutant and that there’s never a limit on CO2.”

It is a Texas-sized irony that billions in federal funds earmarked for fighting climate change may end up going to the same oil and gas companies whose future depends on the survival of a carbon-intensive global economy. Those funds stand to benefit a state with a governor, Greg Abbott, who refuses to use the phrase “climate change,” and with an oil and gas regulatory agency run by elected commissioners whose campaign coffers are stuffed with industry money, who have flirted with climate change denial and who have threatened to sue the federal government over attempts to regulate methane. 

But for all their hostility to climate mitigation, greenhouse gas regulation, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies at home, these powerful Texas politicians know that certain image adjustments will be necessary for the industry to remain attractive to climate-conscious investors and foreign customers with increasingly strict clean energy policies. 

The potential for explosive growth in the CCUS sector — fueled by federal incentives — could be the silver bullet they’ve been looking for: Expanding the CCUS sector to include enhanced oil recovery, which will help companies market their products as “net zero.”

There are at least two potential growth markets in CCUS that have politicians and industry players seeing dollar signs. The first is point-source carbon capture, which involves an industrial facility — a coal-burning power plant, for example — scrubbing a certain percentage of carbon directly from its stacks. The second is direct air capture, an unproven massive-scale technology that involves pulling ambient carbon from the atmosphere. In both cases, the captured carbon could be stored permanently underground or transported by truck or pipeline to another facility for storage or use in enhanced oil recovery or another industrial application. Environmentalists fear that companies could use 45Q credits to refine new and potentially lucrative technology, greenwash their images, and increase their profit margins at taxpayer expense, all without scaling back hydrocarbon production. 

The projected size of the future CCUS market is enormous. Houston-based Occidental Petroleum, which is currently pursuing two DAC projects in Texas under a subsidiary called 1PointFive, estimates the CCUS industry will grow to $50 billion a year by 2030; ExxonMobil puts the figure at $4 trillion by 2050. As the nation’s largest oil and gas producers, Texas fossil fuel companies are well-positioned to tap into the windfall of 45Q credits delivered by the Inflation Reduction Act. There are already tens of thousands of Class II wells in the state, and the reduced barrier to entry will make 45Q a lifeline to smaller companies that might want to use enhanced oil recovery to prolong the viability of their currently producing wells. 

As a map produced by Rice University’s Baker Institute shows, the deep underground geology of Texas is ideal for carbon storage, with saline aquifer and salt dome formations stretching across the Permian Basin from the Panhandle to the Mexican border and all the way down the Texas-Louisiana border, along the Gulf of Mexico and clear across the Eagle Ford Shale formation to the Rio Grande Valley. Oil and gas companies have already been injecting CO2 and fluids into smaller Class II wells for enhanced oil recovery and waste disposal in Texas for decades — and it’s the Railroad Commission’s light touch with regard to holding companies accountable for leaks, spills, and earthquakes related to those Class II wells that has environmentalists worried.

Commission Shift has published extensive reporting on the commission’s failure to adequately address the state’s constantly swelling list of orphaned, abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells, some of which are leaking vast quantities of contaminated water onto the surface or into adjacent groundwater reservoirs. The Environmental Defense Fund and Earthworks have repeatedly reported on the agency’s deficient approach to wasteful methane venting and flaring, despite having rules about when flaring is permissible and when it isn’t. 

Palacios also expressed concern about commissioners’ recent approval of permits for new injection wells over the recommendations of staffers charged with carrying out technical review of the applications. Commission examiners had found that Oklahoma City-based company Lagoon Water Management, which was seeking approval to drill Class II waste disposal wells in Dawson County, “failed to prove the Proposed Disposal Wells are in the public interest,” because, according to the review, there was already sufficient disposal capacity in the area. Piñon Operating, an oil and gas producer with active wells in the same area where Lagoon wanted to put its wells, protested Lagoon’s applications on the grounds that additional disposal capacity was not needed, and that overpressurizing the affected formation could lead to migrations of fluids and hydrogen sulfide gas that could “cause higher drilling costs, loss of well bores, and ultimately, wasted oil and gas reserves.” 

At a September 14 hearing, following a motion from Commissioner Wayne Christian, the commissioners rejected the examiners’ recommendations and approved Lagoon’s applications. Piñon Operating has filed a motion for a rehearing. 

Asked for comment on the Lagoon permits, a spokesperson told Capital & Main that the commission “cannot comment on cases that are pending a final decision.”

Palacios said the commissioners’ decision to override the agency’s own examiners is something the EPA should take into consideration as it evaluates the state’s Class VI primacy application. “The EPA needs to understand that even if RRC’s technical staff seems like it will understand and seek to follow the Class VI CO2 injection well precautions,” Palacios said, “we have evidence that the railroad commissioners will disregard those recommendations and put Texas drinking water at risk.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Texas sees ‘bonanza’ in carbon storage market on Nov 11, 2023.

Source: Grist, a beacon in the smog,an independent news outlet and network of innovators working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck

Why duct leakage testing matters in new construction and how it works

There are countless factors to consider when building new homes, from the layout and design to materials and appliance selections. And one of the biggest considerations for homebuilders is the integrity of the HVAC system. Duct leakage testing evaluates how well the system works, and it’s more than just a requirement in Indiana Energy Code Chapter 11.

TSI Energy Solutions specializes in residential energy efficiency inspections, including duct leakage testing and heat loss/gain analysis. Here’s why it’s an essential step to having happy homeowners and what to expect during your inspections.

The benefits of duct leakage testing for homebuilders

Energy efficiency

When ducts have leaks or gaps, conditioned air can escape before it reaches the intended living spaces. This results in higher energy bills, because the system has to work harder and run longer to maintain the desired temperature.

Duct leakage testing identifies those leaks so you can address them, optimizing energy consumption and providing homeowners with a more cost-effective solution.

Improved comfort

Along with wasting energy, leaky ducts compromise indoor comfort. Rooms farthest from the HVAC unit may receive insufficient heating or cooling, leading to hot or cold spots within the home.

With duct leakage testing, you can fine-tune the HVAC system to make sure all areas are adequately conditioned and homeowners enjoy consistent comfort throughout their new home.

Enhanced indoor air quality

Leaky ducts not only allow conditioned air to escape, but also permit dust, allergens, and pollutants from attics, crawl spaces, or outdoors to infiltrate the home. These issues can negatively impact indoor air quality and even lead to respiratory issues.

Air leakage testing helps identify potential sources of contamination, so you can implement corrective measures that maintain healthier indoor environments.

What to expect with duct leakage testing from TSI Energy Solutions

Duct leakage testing is a comprehensive process that assesses the integrity of the HVAC ductwork in your new construction home. Our team has decades of experience conducting residential energy efficiency testing, and here’s what you can expect with our leakage testing process:

1. Sealing all openings

Our inspectors start by sealing all the openings connected to the ducts. This includes registers, grilles, and other access points to help ensure accurate results.

2. Creating negative pressure

We connect a Duct Blaster Testing System to the HVAC ductwork to create a negative pressure inside the ducts. This pressure difference between the system and the external environment is crucial to detecting air leaks and heat loss/gain points.

3. Measuring leakage

We use sensitive equipment to measure the leakage airflow in the duct system.

4. Reporting

After completing duct leakage testing, we develop a comprehensive report with our findings. We can pinpoint any air leaks in the ductwork utilizing theatrical fog. Your team can then use these findings to seal leaks.

Along with addressing leaks and thermal issues, air leakage testing also gives you the opportunity to fine-tune the HVAC system to ensure even heating and cooling throughout the home. Balancing the system involves adjusting dampers and airflow to optimize performance and indoor comfort.

Taking a proactive approach to whole-home comfort with duct leakage testing ultimately leads to happier homeowners, and TSI Energy Solutions is here to help. Schedule a consultation with our team to learn more.

The post Why duct leakage testing matters in new construction and how it works appeared first on TSI Energy Solutions.

Source: TSI Energy Solutions

How to get the most out of REScheck-Web for renovations and additions

Do you use REScheck-Web in your home design-build process? Residential energy code compliance is essential in home construction, remodeling, and additions, and tools like REScheck-Web serve as an invaluable resource for simplifying the process.

As leaders in residential energy efficiency, TSI Energy Solutions helps homebuilders maximize efficiency, meet code, and get the most out of the resources available. In Indiana, it’s more cost-effective to utilize the Performance Path (with a rater like TSI) for new home construction, but it may be more cost-effective to utilize the Total UA Path to demonstrate code compliance for remodels and additions.

RESCheck is perfect for Total UA Path compliance documentation. Here’s what you should know about harnessing the capabilities of REScheck-Web to optimize your renovation construction projects.

What is REScheck-Web?

REScheck-Web is an online software tool developed by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). It’s designed to help builders and designers determine whether their residential projects meet the energy code requirements set by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

The software calculates the energy performance of a building based on its location, design, and materials, enabling homebuilders to assess compliance and make necessary adjustments before construction begins.

Tips for using REScheck-Web

1. Integrate the tool early in the design process

To get the most out of REScheck-Web, integrate it into your design phase as early as possible. Factoring energy efficiency into your initial designs makes it easier to align efficiency, functionality, and cost. Waiting until later stages puts you at risk of needing to make expensive design changes to achieve compliance.

2. Use accurate inputs

Accuracy is key when using REScheck-Web. Make sure to input precise and comprehensive data about each house’s location, orientation, insulation, windows, doors, and HVAC systems. Even small errors can lead to inaccurate compliance results, so double-check your specs to ensure reliable outputs.

3. Explore design alternatives

One of the great benefits of REScheck-Web is its ability to quickly analyze various design alternatives. After inputting your specs, you can experiment with different combinations of insulation materials, window types, and HVAC systems to determine the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions. This flexibility empowers you to make informed decisions that balance efficiency, performance, and budget.

4. Collaborate and educate

REScheck-Web can deliver valuable information. Sharing your results with architects, engineers, and subcontractors not only helps everyone understand the energy requirements but also encourages a collective effort to achieve energy compliance without compromising on design or quality.

5. Leverage support resources

Navigating energy efficiency codes can be complicated. The DOE provides resources to help you navigate REScheck-Web effectively, and our team at TSI Energy Solutions offers a customized approach.

We dive into your project to help you maximize energy efficiency and meet applicable codes. Along with achieving energy code compliance, we can help you strike a balance between energy efficiency and budget constraints, finding the sweet spot where your project meets energy requirements without becoming financially burdensome.

6. Stay up to date with code changes

Energy codes are subject to updates and revisions. When you partner with TSI, we can help you stay updated on changes in the local energy codes or IECC requirements that might impact your project. REScheck-Web often gets updated to reflect these changes, so make sure you are using the latest version to ensure accurate compliance assessments, too.

7. Document everything

Keep thorough records of your REScheck-Web analyses and compliance results. This documentation serves as proof of your efforts to adhere to energy codes in case of audits or inspections. It’s an essential part of maintaining transparency and accountability throughout the construction process.

REScheck-Web is a powerful tool that empowers homebuilders to streamline the energy code compliance process. Remember that accuracy, education, and adaptability are key to leveraging REScheck-Web and achieving cost-effective energy efficiency.

As you navigate the dynamic landscape of residential energy codes, our experienced team at TSI Energy Solutions is here to help. Contact us to schedule an energy inspection consultation today.

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Source: TSI Energy Solutions

The long-term impact of air leakage testing on new construction homes

Indiana Energy Code Chapter 11 requires all new construction homes have mechanical ventilation and undergo testing for air-tightness. Air leakage testing is an effective way to determine if your build meets code — but did you know the impacts of this test go far beyond that final inspection?

The building envelope creates a barrier between the home’s interior environment and the environment outside. Air leakage testing evaluates the integrity of your building envelope to ensure optimal energy performance, durability, and comfort once the new owners move in.

At TSI Energy Solutions, we specialize in residential air leakage testing for new construction homes. Here’s what you need to know about the long-term impact of air leakage testing and how it contributes to the overall quality and efficiency of homes.

Enhanced indoor comfort

A properly sealed home is a comfortable home. An effective air barrier system enhances indoor comfort by minimizing drafts and temperature fluctuations, allowing homeowners to enjoy consistent and comfortable indoor temperatures year-round.

When the home is comfortable, you’re less likely to get warranty calls when the seasons change. Plus, a well-sealed home helps to reduce outdoor pollutants, allergens, and dust, improving indoor air quality and creating a healthier living environment for occupants.

Better energy efficiency

A properly designed and installed air barrier system prevents air leakage, keeping conditioned air in and outdoor air out. Doing air barrier testing during construction makes it easier to identify and fix any air leaks promptly.

Fewer air leaks means improved energy efficiency. The home’s heating and cooling systems can operate more effectively, and homeowners enjoy lower utility bills as long as they live there.

Moisture and mold issue prevention

Air leakage testing not only ensures energy efficiency, but also helps to prevent moisture-related problems. Air leaks can let moisture into the building envelope, leading to condensation, mold growth, and structural damage over time.

Thorough air leakage testing during construction can identify potential weak points and areas prone to moisture infiltration. Correcting these issues early on mitigates the risk of long-term damage and the associated costs of remediation and repairs.

Long-term durability and structural integrity

A well-sealed building envelope is essential to the overall durability and structural integrity of a home. Testing helps identify any areas that might compromise the integrity of the building envelope, and addressing these issues ensures the home is built to withstand the elements.

Identifying and preventing air and moisture infiltration with air leakage testing helps protect the home’s structural components. Insulation, framing, and sheathing are better protected from premature deterioration, effectively extending the durability of your new construction home.

Air leakage testing during the construction process isn’t just a box to check. It has a significant long-term impact on energy efficiency, indoor comfort, and overall durability.

Invest in high-quality air barrier systems and conduct thorough testing to build homes that are more sustainable, cost-effective, and comfortable for homeowners. Partner with TSI Energy Solutions for your residential inspection needs, and start providing long-lasting, high-performance homes for generations to come.

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Should homebuilders get Energy Star certification or NGBS Green certification for their new construction homes?

The importance of sustainability and energy efficiency in the new construction home market isn’t going away. In fact, many builders are choosing to obtain certifications that attest to the environmental performance of their homes — both to prove their commitment to sustainability and to appeal to eco-friendly homebuyers.
Two such certifications are Energy Star and the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). But which certification is the best choice for you? Our team at TSI Energy Solutions has experience in both. Here’s what…Source: TSI Energy Solutions

Should homebuilders get Energy Star certification or NGBS Green certification for their new construction homes?

The importance of sustainability and energy efficiency in the new construction home market isn’t going away. In fact, many builders are choosing to obtain certifications that attest to the environmental performance of their homes — both to prove their commitment to sustainability and to appeal to eco-friendly homebuyers.
Two such certifications are Energy Star and the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). But which certification is the best choice for you? Our team at TSI Energy Solutions has experience in both. Here’s what…Source: TSI Energy Solutions

Unlocking the Benefits of Residential Infrared Scanning for New Construction Homes

When it comes to building a comfortable, energy efficient house, it’s essential to properly seal out the elements. Air and water leaks can turn a cozy home into a constant problem — for both homebuilders and homeowners. Residential infrared scanning, also known as thermography, is a nondestructive inspection technology that uses thermal imaging to detect temperature differences in surfaces — and those temperature differences are a reliable way to identify air and water leak points.

Residential infrared scanning is widely considered the gold standard in the construction industry because it’s a simple way to identify issues that aren’t visible to the naked eye. At TSI Energy Solutions, our Level II and Level III Certified thermographers use infrared scanning and inspections to help homebuilders detect and address problems in their new construction homes, ultimately improving energy efficiency and reducing costs.

Here’s why it’s worth getting residential infrared scanning on your projects.

Pinpoint air leaks

One of the primary benefits of infrared scanning for new construction homes is its ability to identify air leaks. Air leaks can be a major problem in any home, but they are especially problematic in new construction homes because they can lead to significant energy loss, high utility bills, and increased warranty calls.

We use infrared scanning to identify air leaks by detecting temperature differences between the indoor and outdoor air. Once we pinpoint the location of any leaks, your crew can seal them to prevent energy loss and improve energy efficiency.

Identify insulation problems

Infrared scanning also helps identify insulation problems in new construction homes, before you start getting complaints from homeowners. Insulation is critical to maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature and reducing energy costs, but insulation problems are notoriously difficult to detect because they’re often hidden behind walls and ceilings.

Infrared scanning detects unusual temperature differences in walls and ceilings, indicating areas where insulation may be insufficient. After scanning, we compile a report that highlights the issues, so you can address them before they become even bigger problems.

Detect water leaks

Residential infrared scanning isn’t only beneficial for air leaks — it also helps detect water leaks. Water leaks can be an insidious problem in new construction homes because they often cause significant damage before the problem is detected.

Our thermographers can use infrared scanning to detect water leaks because saturated insulation, walls, and other materials are a different temperature than dry materials. By identifying those temperature differences, we can locate water leaks without destroying the area so your team can implement repairs before the leak causes extensive damage.

Overall, infrared scanning offers invaluable insight for homebuilders. It can identify problems that may be otherwise undetectable, helping you improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, and maintain a safe and comfortable living environment. It‘s an investment that can pay off in the long run, by preventing more costly repairs and damage down the line.

If you’re not getting residential infrared scanning, it’s time to find out what we can do for you. With TSI, you can rest easy knowing you’re taking proactive steps to ensure comfortable and safe living environments for years to come. Contact us and get started today.

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Top 5 air leaks in new construction homes and how air leakage testing helps

Proper insulation, sealing, and airtightness are crucial for both energy efficiency and comfort in new construction homes. Air leaks lead to high energy bills and decreased comfort, which is why air leakage testing is required for all new construction homes in Indiana.

As a builder, you must get air leakage testing to comply with Indiana Energy Code Chapter 11, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to minimize air leaks before inspection.

Our inspectors at TSI Energy Solutions have conducted hundreds of air barrier inspections, and we know where all the most common air leaks are found.

The most common air leaks in new construction homes

No matter how well-constructed, most new homes still have air leaks. In our experience, the most common locations are:

1. Between top plates and attic drywall

Top plates are horizontal boards that run across the top of wall studs and support roof trusses. The attic drywall is the ceiling material that separates the attic from the conditioned living space, and often, there’s a gap between the top plates and attic drywall. Air can leak from the living space to the attic, which results in energy loss and reduces the effectiveness of insulation.

2. Between recessed lights and finished surfaces

Recessed lights are popular in new construction homes, but they’re a top source of air leaks. The same is true for vent fans. Even if the fixtures are rated as airtight, the gap between the fixture and the finished surface (like ceiling drywall) allows air to flow freely. Air movement between the room and the space above compromises insulation efficacy.

3. Between duct boots and finished surfaces

Duct boots are the metal or plastic connectors that attach HVAC ducts to vents in the finished surfaces (like the floor or ceiling). The gap between the duct boot and the finished surface can also allow air to leak, which can cause energy loss and reduce HVAC system efficiency.

4. Between band joists

Band joists are horizontal boards that sit on top of the foundation walls and connect the ends of the floor joists. They form the perimeter of the house, but there’s often a gap between the band joists and the exterior sheathing. The gap lets air leak from the house to the outside, leading to energy loss.

5. Between garage walls and interior walls

Most new construction homes have attached garages, which is another common spot for air leaks. Garage walls may not be as well insulated, and the gap between the garage walls and interior walls can allow air to escape and decrease energy efficiency.

Air leakage testing pinpoints leaks for an airtight build

Air barrier testing is a crucial (and mandatory) step to identify air leaks in new construction homes. Our technicians use specialized equipment to pressurize or depressurize the building envelope, then measure air flow through the building’s exterior.

By doing so, we can identify the areas where air is leaking, as well as the size and location of the air leaks. We create a report that pinpoints the source of the problems, so you can implement fixes and meet code requirements.

Addressing air leaks through proper sealing techniques makes your new construction homes more energy efficient and comfortable, which helps reduce complaints and warranty calls after the new owners move in.

Contact our experts at TSI to learn more about meeting Indiana Energy Code Chapter 11 with air leakage testing for new construction homes.

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