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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.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will provide a suite of organizational, analysis, implementation, and verification methodologies, tools, and resources to help small commercial buildings meet the 2030 District Challenge to reduce energy by 20%. This support aims to help small commercial buildings in major U.S. cities save up to 2.4 billion kBtu a year.

IBACOS will investigate a simplified residential air delivery system to resolve comfort issues reported in low-load, production-built homes. This project could result in state-of-the-art comfort distribution systems, as well as a thermal comfort metric that helps builders and HVAC contractors measure and communicate the value of improved comfort delivery systems.

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.

Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. will work to make the extended plate and beam system of incorporating insulation more accessible to builders through demonstration projects, technical documents, and code compliance assistance. Findings from these activities could play a critical role in improving the efficiency of home heating and cooling, which typically account for 40% of a home's energy consumption.

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.

Seventhwave's Accelerate Performance scales owner demand for energy performance at a cost comparable to current construction by eliminating key market bariers. This program will achieve an average of 50% realized savings compared to traditional 30% modeled savings for aggressive new construction projects.

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.

Southface Energy Institute will develop energy efficiency evaluation and upgrade tools that provide at least a 50% energy improvement in new construction and a 20% energy improvement from upgrades to existing buildings, as well as develop energy audit training materials. These tools and training materials will help spur energy efficiency gains in new and existing buildings.

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.

BuildingIQ, Inc. will optimize HVAC energy use across commercial buildings using a cloud-based software application that automatically adjusts temperature set points to reduce energy consumption. This software could reduce HVAC-related energy use in commercial buildings by 12% - 25%.

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.

This project will enable production homebuilders to confidently construct market-ready homes at higher efficiency levels and empower manufacturers to design better products to meet production builder needs.

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.

The University of Minnesota: Twin Cities 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.

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.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation will provide low-cost energy efficiency services to small businesses in California, Wisconsin, New York, and Washington State. These efforts aim to increase small business participation in energy retrofit programs and could lead to up to $30 billion in annual energy savings.

Carnegie Mellon University will develop, deploy, test, and refine an open-source and open architecture software platfordm for secure building managemener applications, specifically tailored towards small- and medium-sized buildings.

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.

Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. will study a new approach to roof insulation retrofits that can be installed in one step and result in semi-conditioned attics. Findings from this project could play a critical role in improving the efficiency of home heating and cooling, which typically account for 40% of a home's energy consumption.

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.

The city of Milwaukee will demonstrate retrofit approaches, including bundled energy efficiency retrofits paired with emerging finance mechanisms, in up to 200 commercial buildings across Wisconsin. These demonstrations could lead to increased adoption of energy efficiency technologies throughout the state.

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 Institute for Market Transformation will partner with local chambers of commerce to help small business landlords and tenants improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. The Institute for Market Transformation will work with local chamber of commerce to audit 400 buildings.

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 Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute will develop a software platform that improves sensing and control of equipment in small and medium-sized commercial buildings. The platform will be able to optimize electricity usage to reduce energy consumption and help implement demand response.

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.

The City of Seattle will engage with building owners, managers, and service providers to develop market expertise to train local building operations professionals to more effectively tune-up existing buildings, which could reduce city energy costs by $1.5 million annually. Professionals will tune-up 70-80 buildings with 10-20% energy savings, and complete capital retrofits to 20-30 buildings providing 35% energy savings, for a total of 1 billion kBtu annual savings.

This project picks up on an ET project with long-term performance monitoring of a cold climate heat pump in Fairbanks, AK. In the United States, approximately 14.4 million dwellings use electricity for heating in cold and very cold regions, consuming 0.16 quads of energy annually. A high-performance cold climate heat pump (CCHP) can result in significant savings over current technologies (greater than 70% compared to strip heating) and in annual primary energy savings of 0.1 quads when fully deployed, which is equivalent to a reduction of 5.9 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions.
A case study will be created for submission to the Building America Solution Center that documents how the equipment performed during the field study, including estimated HSPF and SEER ratings for this type of technology in order to provide a reference for comparison to existing equipment.

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.

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.

The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships will demonstrate advanced lighting controls (ALCs), which turn off or dim lights when they are not in use, in 10 buildings in order to address barriers to ALC adoption. Installing ALC systems in all commercial buildings would save approximately 1,053 TBtu of energy or $10.4 billion/year.

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) will conduct energy code field studies in Florida, Nebraska, Iowa, and Nevada to measure the impact of energy codes on commercial building energy efficiency, and identify opportunities for savings through increased compliance.

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.

NextEnergywill reduce market barriers to adoption of lighting controls solution to spur market adoption. This will be achieved through demonstrations, consumer education, and utility incentive adjustment. NextEnergy and partners will train over 100 contractors in advanced lighting controls and simplified installation methods and develop a model for streamlined incentives for lighting controls.

BlocPower will develop a crowd-sourcing website to help market, finance, and install energy efficiency retrofits for 1,500 small buildings in low-income communities across the country. These efforts could help these communities achieve notable energy savings and reduce their carbon emissions.

A.O. Smith Corporation will demonstrate underutilized micro-combined-heat-and-power (micro-CHP) applications, which produce electricity and heat from a single source, in buildings with significant hot water demand. These micro-CHP applications can provide 38% energy savings in these building types.

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.

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.

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