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Research Tracker

This tool is intended for researchers and program managers to quickly find research projects around the country that are relevant to their work. The four organizations who provided content for this purpose represent the largest energy efficient buildings research portfolios in the country. These organizations each provided the content that they were comfortable sharing publically. Therefore, upon clicking on a particular project, it is possible that certain pieces of content are not present. Where possible, a point of contact is provided so that specific questions can be directed to that person. We welcome your comments! If you would like to provide any feedback on this tool (positive or constructive) please email basc@pnnl.gov.

The University of Florida will develop a technology for compact, low-cost combined water heating, dehumidification, and space cooling. This technology has the potential to save 480 TBtu/year in water heating and an additional 135 TBtu/year by reducing the air conditioning load.

The Industrial Science & Technology Network, Inc. will develop an environmentally clean, cost-effective building insulation with superior performance. Commercialization of this technology would reduce U.S. energy consumption related to building envelope components by 7%, equal to $8 billion in annual economic savings.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will identify an alternative method to estimate two difficult-to-measure inputs used in building energy modeling. The end product will simplify and help automate the process of creating a calibrated model for existing buildings.

Steven Winter Associates will validate the heating and occupant-based savings in existing multifamily units using "smart" and connected terminal unit controls.

This project will demonstrate the potential of breakthrough electric water heating and space conditioning technologies as a pathway to zero net energy. The project will explore the complex, interdependent systems in multifamily buildings and how they work together to achieve zero net energy status for the buildings in a cost-effective manner. Four multifamily buildings, designed to be affordable, will be evaluated in various stages of design and development. These buildings will share a goal of all electric zero net energy construction with 100 percent renewable energy generation, and will utilize innovative new heat pump technologies to serve the buildings water heating and/or space conditioning needs.

Argonne National Laboratory will develop an acoustic method of measuring the infiltration of a building envelope. The method will enable infiltration measurement of all buildings, which could lead to decreased building energy use.

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), with its partner 3M, is developing adhesive chemistries for bonding aluminum and copper during heat exchanger manufacture, resulting in enhanced bonding and significant energy savings.

The purpose of this research is to develop and demonstrate an integrated humidity and ventilation control solution to improve indoor air quality, comfort, and energy performance for low-load homes in hot-humid and mixed-humid climates.

This project deploys APMD technology over a large sample size, at approximately 55,000 computer workstations at several Community Colleges, and focuses on integrating the technology with facility operations to ensure that they meet the needs of the sites and staff. Key features of the proposed project include outreach and individual education programs to California Community College Districts, evaluation of sites for participation in the project, purchase and installation of APMDs at approved sites, measurement and verification (M&V) activities both pre- and post-APMD implementation at the selected demonstration sites, and stakeholder satisfaction information from demonstration facilities staff and APMD end-users through interviews and surveys.

Optimized Thermal Systems, with their partners Heat Transfer Technologies, LLC, and interest from United Technologies Research Center, will develop a manufacturing procedure for a serpentine heat exchanger for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems that has 90% fewer joints than current heat exchangers.

The Center for Energy and Environment and partners will field test and optimize an innovative new method for whole house air-sealing using aerosol sealant. This aerosol sealant method is already a proven duct sealing solution, and can reduce time and labor costs by simultaneously measuring, locating, and sealing leaks.

The University of Minnesota will field test an innovative insulated solid-panel building envelope system that (1) eliminates thermal bridging, improves durability, and reduces construction costs compared to conventional, wood-framed construction; and (2) is appropriate for the affordable housing market.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in partnership with a US based global manufacturing services provider will design, construct, and demonstrate an affordable heat pump clothes dryer (HPCD) suitable for the US market. A novel hybrid HPCD will be developed and demonstrated to save at least 50% of the energy used by conventional electric dryers, and will have a payback of less than five years for at least 25% of BPA residential customers.

The Institute for Market Transformation will investigate whether investing in statewide building energy code education, training, and outreach programs can produce a significant change in residential building code compliance rates. The results of these activities provide the necessary business case to influence non-government entities, particularly utilities, to make investments in similar programs, which could lead to substantial national energy savings.

Clemson University, with their partners Harvard University, Phase IV Engineering Corp., and Iowa Energy Center, will develop, demonstrate and pre-commercialize low-cost, digital plug-and-play, passive radio frequency identification sensors for measuring indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, which will improve building operations and cut energy costs.

High performance, low-load homes face unique space conditioning challenges that are not adequately addressed by HVAC design practices and equipment offerings. Equipment manufacturers have yet to include a diverse set of low-capacity equipment in their product offerings due to a lack of understanding of (1) where the low-load home market is headed and (2) the load profiles typical to low-load homes. This project looks to address both of these information gaps and ultimately send the necessary low-capacity equipment market signals to manufacturers, enabling them to design better products to meet production builder needs. The team will develop a technical whitepaper and presentation on the performance and cost tradeoffs of various equipment types/systems at meeting the comfort requirements of low-load homes, and forecasting the market penetration and equipment needs for these low-load homes.

This project entails the measurement of time-integrated concentrations and temporal profiles of humidity and established contaminants of concern in a minimum of 64 new homes located in cold and marine climate zones.

This project is part of a national study aimed at characterizing indoor air quality in occupied homes. The homes will be up to current energy codes, and researchers will closely monitor the use and performance of mechanical ventilation systems in those homes. Indoor and outdoor air will be sampled for formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and particulates as part of the indoor air quality characterization.

During BPA's 2016 Multifamily Technical Advisory Group, this technology was evaluated and recommended for future research. BPA is joining with NEEA and Ecotope to conduct a bench test to determine if this will be a viable alternative to conduct future field tests in the Pacific Northwest. The bench test will be document the system performance and noise levels to determine if the unit is ready for more lab and field tests.

This project will develop test procedures for alternative refrigerants for flammability and energy savings characterization and to develop a “favorability” index of end-use market segments and equipment types based on potential GHG savings impact and commercial feasibility and adoption.

The Better Buildings Residential Network connects energy efficiency programs and partners to share best practices and learn from one another to increase the number of homes that are energy efficient. Better Buildings Residential programs and partners have invested more than $3 billion from federal funding and local resources to build more energy-efficient communities across the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is continually expanding this network of residential energy efficiency programs and partners to new members.

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems will develop a plastic foam for use in U.S. buildings that is less expensive, mechanically stronger, and more environmentally friendly than current options. This foam will satisfy fire safety codes without the need for fire retardants and is easy to install.

The researchers developed long-term energy scenarios for California that comply with GHG emission targets and goals. The scenarios provide new insights about technology options and by when some of this options should be implemented.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will work to address key issues in high performance HVAC and envelope systems by mitigating market uncertainty regarding the durability of high-performing envelope systems and validating and demonstrating advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) solutions for low-load homes. Improved technologies and systems can result in significant savings on monthly utility bills, reducing the payback period and offsetting the initial investment for the homeowner.

The University of Central Florida will demonstrate and validate energy-efficient residential ventilation and space conditioning systems. Advanced whole-house residential construction practices can achieve 50% energy savings compared to houses built to code in hot/humid climates.

The Building America Solution Center provides residential building professionals with access to expert information on hundreds of high-performance design and construction topics, including air sealing and insulation, HVAC components, windows, indoor air quality, and much more.

The Georgia Institute of Technology will support 20 student project teams in developing building energy efficiency technologies through a capstone design project. This effort will better prepare students for employment in the building energy efficiency sector. Additionally, the combined energy savings from these projects is estimated to add up to over 1.8 Quads per year.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America program recognizes that the education of future design/construction industry professionals in solid building science principles is critical to widespread development of high performance homes that are energy efficient, healthy, and durable. The Building Science Education Guidelines are based on the collaborative efforts of DOE and its stakeholders to develop a framework for organizing core building science principles with key job classifications.

This research will examine several high aspect ratio (15:1) cylinders, (smooth, roughened and grooved) in a wind tunnel test that specifically measures dynamic response to simulated boundary layer flow. Both along- and cross-wind response will be measured for a range of wind speeds to determine the nature of the loading and in particular the effect of the grooves on the loading and axial wind speeds. This will provide the necessary data to develop a full proposal to study the bio-mimicry aspects of this work to the aerodynamics of tall buildings.

The Window Covering Manufacturing Association will create the Attachments Energy Rating Council to develop an independent rating, certification, labeling, and performance verification program for window attachments. This program will help drive market penetration of energy-saving products and further innovation in the industry.

NEEP conducted a market assessment of existing installer practices as well as existing guidance tools, protocols and resources specific to cold climates. Using the market assessment findings, NEEP developed ccashp design and installation guidance for trade contractors. The documents are developed to assist installers around sizing and selecting ASHPs for cold climate applications, while preserving high efficiency, performance, and customer satisfaction. HI Cat will cross-promote and link to the guidance.

The Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program, in partnership with Cowlitz PUD, Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), Idaho Power, Inland Power and Light, Northwest energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), Pacific Gas and Electric, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Mitsubishi Electric and Sanden International proposes to conduct research on two types of combined space and water heat pumps in field and controlled experiments in existing homes of various efficiencies and climates. One technology uses carbon dioxide (CO2) refrigerant and will be tested for performance at six field sites and at the PNNL lab homes for efficiency and demand response capability. The second technology uses a conventional refrigerant and combines ductless heat pump space heating and cooling technology with water heating and will be field tested at five locations in the region's hottest and coldest climates as well as in the marine coastal zone. Costs of system installation, monitoring and retrofit will be collected and analyzed.

This project takes a different approach to achieving white electroluminescence, which involves the use of a combination of fluorescent and phosphorescent emitters. These hybrid fluorescent/phosphorescent WOLEDs will give markedly improved cell efficacy and lifetime.

Maryland Energy and Sensor Technologies, LLC will develop a compact, high-efficiency thermoelastic cooling system. This next-generation HVAC technology will have low environmental impact and a small carbon footprint and could lead to substantial efficiency gains in building heating and cooling.

This project will develop and pilot-test a complete, low cost, and standards based Retail Automated Transactive Energy System (RATES), and behind the meter energy management solution, that minimizes the cost and complexity of customer participation in energy efficiency programs, while maximizing the potential of large numbers of small loads to improve system load factor, shave peaks, integrate renewable generation and otherwise provide low opportunity-cost resources to the grid.

This project will develop and pilot-test a complete, low cost, and standards based Retail Automated Transactive Energy System (RATES), and behind the meter energy management solution, that minimizes the cost and complexity of customer participation in energy efficiency programs, while maximizing the potential of large numbers of small loads to improve system load factor, shave peaks, integrate renewable generation and otherwise provide low opportunity-cost resources to the grid.

This project will demonstrate how a large number of small electric loads, each impacted by and tuned to individual customer preferences can provide load management for both utilities and the California Independent System Operator (California ISO). The recipient will work with an extensive spectrum of leading product providers covering all major distributed energy resources (DERs), such as Nest (thermostats), ThinkEco (plug loads), Honda, BMW (auto), EGuana (smart Inverter) and Ice Energy (Thermal Storage). A variety of price signals will be tested for Time-of-Use customers such as Critical Peak Pricing and Demand Rate. The project will use deep analytics to evaluate individual customer preferences for demand management using microdata from devices and aggregate the responses to meet grid needs at different distribution and transmission levels.

The University of Maryland will develop the next generation air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers using non-round tubes that are 25% smaller, 25% lighter and 30% reduced charge than state-of-the-art heat exchangers.

Advanced Climate Technologies (ACT) is a manufacturer of fully automatic, high-efficiency, low-emission biomass-fired boilers, interested in expanding their manufacturing facility in Niskayuna, NY to include an automated manufacturing system. This project involves the design, purchase, installation, and commissioning of the automated manufacturing system. The automated manufacturing system will allow ACT to process raw steel into prepared components. This will include a state-of-the art multi-tiered automated process that will allow for the cutting, drilling, and nesting of ASME steel plate used for the vessel and component parts of the boiler. By increasing their manufacturing capabilities, the ACT will bring processes in-house that have thus far been subcontracted. This project will eliminate certain inefficiencies in the manufacturing value chain and reduce total manufacturing time for product improvement, cost, and waste. The cost savings will be passed to consumers, directly benefiting the biomass heating market and customers in NY.

UoR shall evaluate a new manufacturing process for producing lower cost superwicking materials. The wicking performance of the material produced with the new manufacturing process will be tested and compared to a wicking material produced using a laser surfacing technique.

Lumileds, LLC will reduce LED manufacturing costs by eliminating some of the complex processes associated with current flip-chip technology and enabling lower-cost packaging methods. This project looks to address the needs of the indoor and outdoor illumination markets, which demand the most competitive Lm/W and Lm/$ characteristics in small footprint components.

The project will seek to develop a residential and commercial logwood-fired boiler with the ability to modulate firing rates down to

SWA will work with NYCHA to identify a subset of building typologies that represent its broader portfolio and are also relevant to other NY housing stocks. SWA will assess the representative properties and identify pathways for achieving DERs. SWA will review existing physical needs assessments plans (PNA) and meet with the NYCHA capital planning team to understand the existing long term capital needs and approach to capital planning. SWA will develop potential long term plans for each building typology to realize deep energy reductions that build on existing capital plans and needs.

The project effort is a two-year development program focused on isocyanurate-based nanofoam for building and industrial applications. The main target of this early stage innovation project is to develop a PIR-based super insulation at atmospheric pressure (SIAP) that (1) can attain an R-12 hrft2F/Btuin (_=12 mW/mK) via creating nanoporous morphology, (2) is mechanically robust and (3) is cost-competitive to the conventional rigid foam boards.

The goal of this project is to develop laboratory test methods for performance verification of low-cost IAQ sensors and provide technical support to industry stakeholders during the development of an ASTM standard based on these test methods.

Hudson Fisonic will develop, design, manufacture, and install FDs for space heating and domestic hot water at the Woolworth building (57 stories, 900k ft2). The performance of the FD will be monitored for 12 months to determine the steam and potable water savings from use of this technology. Hudson Fisonic will start the commercialization of the FD technology by engaging the manufacturer - Division LLC Corporation, located in Long Island City, New York, in fabricating and preparing the necessary facilities and equipment for commercial manufacturing of FDs

Newport Partners, in partnership with Broan-NuTone, will develop and validate a smart range hood that senses pollutants and automatically operates to remove the contaminants efficiently. The proposed smart range hood will be quiet (

Multifamily (MF) is hugely underserved in Residential energy efficiency (EE) Programs and part of our MF ductless heat pump (DHP) strategy is to look at different MF use cases and identify which MF use cases provide a higher EE potential. So far DHP results in MF are mixed and this project will assess the energy use and savings of ductless heat pumps in mid-rise MF buildings. This study offers a unique opportunity for a side by side comparison of heat pumps and electric resistance heat within a single apartment building with 278 apartments. The project would collect billing data on all the individual units, conduct an analysis to disaggregate heating, cooling, and baseload energy use, and compare the two types of heating systems.

This project will research DC and AC-DC hybrid systems in buildings and develop resource information, end-use templates, and building guidelines that could improve the ability to achieve zero net energy buildings. The feasibility, costs, benefits, market barriers, and customer and education needs will be assessed, including guidelines for residential and small commercial buildings.

The project is designed to test the ductless heat pump (DHP) in different applications. Fifty-one sites were installed to test different applications including single family, multifamily, manufactured homes , and small commercial across different climate zones. As part of the study, one year of data was collected through sub metering; and pre- and post-billing data were completed and analyzed for each site. Preliminary results have been promising for manufactured homes and single family homes with forced air furnace applications. The study was completed during the spring of 2013. Based on the findings of the study, Single Family and Manufactured Home applications provided sufficient energy savings to warrant presentation to the Regional Technical Forum as new measures in 2015. Both were given a provisional UES (deemed) measure status. DHPs in Manufactured Homes with zonal heat were given a Small Saver measure status.