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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 objective of this project to develop and commercialize white and amber OLED lighting solutions that are uniquely tailored to the health care industry, ranging from hospital to senior assisted living centers. This project will include five main deliverables: 1) Voice of customer (VOC) exploration with hospital and healthcare personnel including nurses, facilities and other medical staff to identify lighting applications in which OLED would provide unique value. 2) Tuning amber OLED panels, if necessary for large scale production specifically for healthcare, 3) Designing and fabricating OLED fixture prototypes based on VOC 4) obtaining feedback from medical staff on prototypes including performance and effects on workflow, patients or other concerns and define launch product 5) establishing path for full commercialization of product(s).

NYSERDA has been a strong supporter of ASSIST since its inception in 2002. This has helped New York State to remain on the cutting edge of this quickly advancing technology. To continue to help to prepare New York State manufacturers, consumers, lighting specifiers and decision-makers for the solid-state lighting market, the LRC is seeking to continue NYSERDA's membership in ASSIST and is seeking funding from NYSERDA to support the continued development of metrics and standardized measurement methods for LEDs, LED systems, and LED luminaires.

This research project is focused on opportunities for achieving near-term energy efficiency gains in heating appliances, specifically integrated systems that combine low ambient heat pumps and high efficiency oil-fired boilers. The Contractor shall conduct field studies in order to better understand how these hybrid systems are currently being installed and operated. Following the field studies, an analysis effort shall be undertaken in order to quantify the effect of a heating system's components performance, sizing, and control strategies on annual energy performance. The Contractor shall then develop a Best Practices Guide for hybrid heat pump/oil-fired boiler systems. The project concludes with the dissemination of the Best Practices Guide as well as the publication and conference presentation of any technical papers developed from the laboratory evaluation.

This research project is focused on opportunities for achieving near-term energy efficiency gains in heating appliances, specifically high-efficiency, low-cost, boilers with integrated tankless coils for domestic hot water. The project begins with an evaluation of commercially available tankless coil boilers and potential low-cost technical improvements. The Contractor shall evaluate the performance of (6) of these boilers in a laboratory setting in order to evaluate the thermal, seasonal, and annual efficiency. Following the laboratory evaluation, the Contractor shall develop a Best Practices Guide for Tankless Coil Boilers. The project concludes with the dissemination of the Best Practices Guide as well as the publication and conference presentation of any technical papers developed from the laboratory evaluation.

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.

ClearStak will work with Heating Systems, LTD (Thermo-Control), a biomass-fired heating device manufacturer in Cobleskill, NY, to replace the existing controls on the Model 600 wood burner with non-proprietary components and software. This will be completed using their existing Intelligent Biomass Controller (IBC) to optimize combustion efficiency. The IBC allows for wireless connectivity, giving end-users access to remote monitoring capabilities, data reports, and alert notifications. Following the successful modifications to the system and the integration of the IBC, the entire system shall be tested using the Method 28WHH for Certification of Cord Wood-Fired Hydronic Heating Appliances With Partial Thermal Storage (Method 28 WHH-PTS) method at an EPA accredited testing laboratory. The project will be completed with UL testing and certification of the entire system, resulting in a commercial-ready product

SU will develop a single-stage air filtration technology for particle and gaseous pollutant removal. The work will determine the proper mixture ratio of hybrid sorbent media according to the pollutants in the air streams. The attachment method and size of activated sorbent powders to be applied on the fiber of a particle filter will be studied. SU will evaluate the effects of operational environmental conditions (including temperature, humidity, and airflow conditions) on the combinatorial filter removal efficiency and service life.

This project seeks to develop operational procedures and proper system sizing guidelines for the inclusion of thermal storage in biomass-fired steam generation. The Town of Chester will design, install, commission, and evaluate a high-efficiency, low-emission pellet-fired steam boiler integrated with a wet steam accumulator for thermal storage. The system will be installed in the Town of Chester municipal building in Chestertown, NY, a 36,000 sq. ft. brick building originally fitted with a steam heating system. The existing boiler room has two oil-fired steam boilers, one currently out-of-service, which will be replaced by the proposed biomass-fired steam boiler. The project will demonstrate, measure, and evaluate the benefits of complete system integration, including a properly sized biomass-fired boiler, adequate thermal storage, building energy management and controls, and an existing oil-fired boiler

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.

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic will create a prototype office desktop lighting control. The device will be a combination of a motion sensor, photosensor, manual dimmer or switch, and wireless transmitter. It will sit either directly on a desk surface or be mounted to the top of a computer monitor, and will control the lighting in private or open offices. It will be paired with a receiver that will control the luminaire(s) that are nearby.

Sunthru will establish the fabrication process variables (e.g., pressures and temperatures) for producing small scale samples with the RSCE method. These measurements will be used to establish the process variable to make 8'x8'x0.5' and 10'x10'x0.5' aerogel monoliths. The large scale monoliths will be used to construct prototype insulated glass units for testing Sunthru's ultimate product.

This project will evaluate the effectiveness of luminscent solar concentrators with PV materials. RPI will determine the extinction coefficients for candidate LSC materials. The extinction coefficient will be used in Monte Carlos simulation, along with other experimental parameters such as quantum efficiency and absorption and emission spectra, to predict optimum shape and species concentration that will lead to LSC-PV systems with enhanced system level efficiency. The most promising designs will be fabricated into coupled LSC-PV systems and their performance will be characterized with laboratory testing.

Vertex Companies investigated the commercial usefulness of LIPA tracer gas technology in providing a quantitative assessment of air distribution in buildings. The LIPA System's capability to track indoor to outdoor, within zone and between zone air distributions was also be evaluated. The use of the LIPA System as a real-time, quantitative instrumental detection with a hand-portable device was also confirmed.

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.

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.

Project will develop the mechanical and electrical OLED integration technologies to enable large area ceiling or wall mounted fixtures to be fabricated. These OLED array fixtures will provide contiguous panels of light with minimal gaps between OLED sections and very low profile to be readily mounted on walls, ceiling or office furniture components. The project will focus on innovations in the following areas to integrate OLED into effective products and applications: A power and wiring architecture that efficiently down converts voltage level, conforms to safety standards, and facilitates OLED fixture installation. "Thin and compact" constant current driver architecture to complement the OLED panel construction "Thin and compact" mechanical and electrical connection scheme to combine an array of panels to attain a contiguous light source

Under this project, OLEDWorks will develop the quality and reliability system for a high efficiency white OLED light product (greater than 60 lumens per watt) that will serve as platform for a wide variety of lighting applications and solutions. The project will develop the fundamental platforms for process robustness, end of line reliability, and part tracking required for manufacturing scale commercialization, and market adoption of white lighting panels. The focus of the process development is reliability and overall quality of affordable OLED lighting products. Processes that will be developed and delivered include manufacturing process robustness for product reliability and quality control reliability testing strategy, product grading or binning, end of the line test at high throughput, packaging and shipping strategy, and product traceability.

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 Ventures will evaluate the potential to make metal buildings more energy efficient by researching the market for a high R-value vacuum insulation product adhered to metal wall or roof panels. Newport Ventures, NanoPore (a MAI manufacturer),and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will investigate promising applications and possible manufacturers identified by the Metal Buildings Manufacturer Association (MBMA) and other relevant industry associations across NYS. Research will be conducted with respect to the optimum profile of the metal panel, method and material for adhesion, edge and seam detailing, fastening method, and trim pieces.

An engineering study will be undertaken to determine the necessary specifications for the district heating loop. A site survey will be conducted to identify the ideal site for the central biomass plant. This will ideally be a location that has a significant load in close proximity as well as other loads reasonably close. The plant will be sized to meet some initial loads. Some of the initial major loads identified include the Wild Center Museum, the Sunmount Complex and an elementary school. A detailed analysis of the heating and cooling loads will be undertaken to determine the size of the initial plant. The piping route and specifications will be determined as well. As all of the characteristics come together, the work will be put out to bid to the relevant contractors. The project will also involve determining the source of funding of the district heating loop.

FXFOWLE Architects will undertake a research study to determine the viability of implementing the Passivhaus standard on tall residential buildings in New York State. Using a 25 story multifamily project currently in design as a base building, the study will investigate the detailed implications of adapting a typical tall residential building to meet the Passivhaus standard. This work will analyze the impacts from architectural, structural, enclosure detailing, materials, mechanical, zoning, financial, marketability, and constructability perspectives. Market barriers and opportunities will be identified and addressed. In addition, the study will evaluate how applying the Passivhaus standard to a tall multifamily residential building can affect resiliency and security issues

CNSE and EYP Architecture and Engineering will evaluate the energy and demand benefits from smart controls that integrate various systems to enable more holistic operation of a building. The systems to be controlled include digital addressable LED lighting system with day-lighting controls, automated window covering system, occupancy RFID tracking system, submetered energy monitoring and utility meter data, PLC-based HVAC controls, fuel cell, PV array and task lighting.

Taitem Engineering will evaluate the Dutch program for deep energy retrofits of residential buildings known as Energiesprong. The objectives of this study are as follows: gain an in-depth understanding of the solutions implemented under the Energiesprong program, confirm the cost and performance of the implemented retrofits; assess transferability to NYS building stock (e.g. wood-frame vs. concrete frame) and assess transferability to NYS different climate zones.

Brookhaven National Laboratory will evaluate a DC system directly-coupled to a solar energy system that enables the use of DC power directly for office lighting. This system will use equipment developed by Nextek Power Systems and will being installed in a Suffolk County office buildings. BNL will document the energy savings and value propositions available from this type of system compared to a conventional DC to AC lighting system powered a solar photovoltaic system. This work will provide information that can be used to determine the value propositions for installing this type of system at larger scale in buildings throughout New York State.

SWA will evaluate the opportunities, savings potential, and limitations of ccASHPs in New York State homes. Improved energy modeling techniques will be developed for various tools. Guidelines will be developed describing ccASHP opportunities in NYS homes, including operating costs, installed costs, climate-dependent factors, low-temperature limitations, integration issues and possible limitations. Guidelines will also be developed for energy modelers to help accurately predict ccASHP performance with common modeling tools.

Evoworld will complete the necessary development work resulting in a new user interface that provides end-users with a simple layout, quick access to operating data, and appliance performance feedback. Evoworld will also revise their Installation, Maintenance, and Operating manuals. The project will conclude with the development of a commissioning report and installer training curriculum, which should improve the quality of installations of Evoworld products within NYS and elsewhere.

The objectives of this project are to: 1) Develop, evaluate, and down-select a set of component technologies that will enable highly efficient and uniform large area white OLED lighting panels at low cost, 2) Integrate the selected subset of technology elements to demonstrate the required panel level performance targets of 80 lm/W with 85% brightness uniformity at 2000-3000 cd/m2 for a large area OLED panel at least 100 cm2 in size 3) Demonstrate scalability of the low-cost technologies and 4) Demonstrate an OLED luminaire using the high-performance OLED panels delivering more than 2000 lumens at greater than 65 lm/W.

The proposer seeks to assess the prevalence of different space heating systems and the efficacy of known measures that address their most common inefficiencies. The proposer will convene an advisory panel, assess the scope of steam heat as a problem in New York as well as existing measures, and conduct a cost-benefit and impact analysis. The project will complete with the development of proposals for policymakers, industry customers, and potential training programs.

Unilux Advanced Manufacturing, LLC is a Schenectady, NY based corporation that is engaged in the design, evaluation, manufacture, and commercial distribution of high performance large scale boilers. Unilux currently has built and partially tested a 10 MMBTU prototype large scale condensing boiler (LSCB) with an anticipated efficiency of 96% compared to a conventional boiler efficiency of 81%. An 8-20 MMBTU LSCB would be appropriately sized for large facilities such as public schools, universities, state owned buildings, hospitals, and hotels.

The project will develop LED luminaires specifically for three applications: clean rooms, containment areas and surgical suite applications. The LED luminaires will (1) conform to DLC Qualifications and LM79/LM80/IES Handbook guidelines and produce desired levels of glare-free, uniform illumination; (2) maximize energy efficiency, heat dissipation, and integration into modern ceiling structures; and (3) develop new universally accepted standards for evaluation for LED luminaires in clean room applications and validate their performance with respect to leakage and surface contamination. The proposed work includes mechanical/electrical design, prototype creation, component procurement, tooling, production, assembly, field testing, independent lab testing and cost/sell budget development. It also includes market/sales development to create new marketing materials and training of sales force (internal support, traditional distribution and OEM), and creation of a promotional program.

Steven Winter Associates (SWA) will conduct the retrofit installation and commissioning of (2) steam boiler burners with linkageless burner controls at demonstration sites in NYC. The project will use remotely monitored measurement and verification equipment to provide data collection of the systems pre and post- retrofit. SWA will oversee the installation and commissioning of the systems to ensure optimization of energy performance at demonstration sites. SWA will then develop a best practices strategy for the retrofitting process and the collected data will be analyzed for cost analysis, energy savings, metrics, and payback over both heating and non-heating seasons. The results of the project will be shared with building owners, management firms, building operators, and representatives from municipal and state organizations who are responsible for the evaluation of boiler upgrades in their respective organizations.

Gas Technology Institute will develop and conduct advanced modeling of the GHP system in order to provide a detailed assessment of the technology using regional weather data and detailed utility information for several New York locations and building types. The project will include a market assessment of the competitiveness of the variable refrigerant volume (VRV) GHP, including energy and economic benefits, the value of resiliency, and the value of self-powered heating and cooling systems for customers in New York. The Proposer will take into account the energy savings, operating costs, lifecycle costs, and greenhouse gas emissions in order to determine any energy, economic, or environmental merits of GHPs over standard HVAC equipment

The Contractor seeks to baseline test, install, and evaluate the performance of a 21kW micro-CHP system, that provides hot water and power as a packaged unit, at (2) Host Sites in NY. The proposed System shall feature a synchronous generator and black-start capability. The goal of the project is to provide manufacturers, building owners, and installers information regarding the deployment of micro-CHP systems, in order to promote a sustainable market for micro-CHP systems in NY. Once the Host Sites are selected, the System shall be independently tested and configured and the Host Sites shall be prepared for the proper integration of the Systems on-site. The Systems shall be installed and monitored for 12 months before developing a report to disseminate to the stakeholders.

This project will develop a TL-N heat pump that will incorporate several substantial innovations to improve efficiency, reduce complexity and manufacturing cost and place TL-N at an attractive price point compared to traditional building HAC-HW systems. The goal of this project is to complete the research and development necessary to redesign the purely mechanical system previously developed into an advanced mechanical/electronic or mechatronic system, and will produce two working prototypes. The design, build, and testing of these prototypes will be accomplished in this effort. The TL-N mechatronic-driven system will incorporate several innovations to improve performance and reduce costs. These include an ultra-low-emission combustion burner, electronically-controlled actuators for cycle efficiency improvement, and innovative heat exchangers. Adaptation of these low cost mature technologies into the heat pump design will significantly increase operational efficiencies of the thermodynamic process while reducing cost.

The Wild Center will refine the analysis to determine the optimum thermal storage volume with respect to energy savings, cost, and available area. The preliminary analysis shows that 1,700 gallons would yield improved performance, however they do not have the space to install a single tank with this volume. Instead, they will install two tanks each with half the identified volume. Clarkson University will build upon their previous studies of the boiler and extensively monitor the performance benefits associated with the thermal storage. They will capture data of the course of two years which will provide a comprehensive data set. They will also conduct an evaluation according to the ASHRAE 155P test method. The Wild Center will incorporate the data into their exhibits, allowing visitors to better understand biomass combustion.

Hydronic Specialty Supply will develop an interface module that organizes the hydronics layout of a biomass-fired boiler and integrates smart control options for multi-boiler systems. The controls will be able to optimally manage the operation of the existing fossil fuel boiler, new biomass boiler, thermal storage tank, space heating, and even DHW. This interface module will be comprised of standardized hardware components, therefore reducing net installed cost to consumers and taking advantage of economies of scale. The project will bring the proposed solution through the prototyping phase into laboratory and field tests.

Although on-demand water heaters are 37% more efficient than storage water heaters, they are significantly more expensive. The increased cost results from use of multi-stage burner banks that require complex electronic controls. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (LBNL) Low Swirl Burner (LSB) could reduce burner complexity for these appliances. Manufacturing costs may be reduced if LBNL's LSB technology is successfully applied to on-demand water heaters. LBNL performed laboratory testing to confirm the technical suitability of the LSB for on-demand water heaters across relevant product specifications.

Syracuse University will fabricate and laboratory test a stack of Flame-assisted Fuel Cells (FFCs), which can generate electricity from the flame of fuel combustion. The research is intended to analyze the performance of the FFCs as well as their ability to undergo extensive thermal cycling. Data will be collected to quantify the open circuit voltage, power density, current density, and stack impedance compared to calculated values. Syracuse University will conduct research to determine if there are any opportunities to improve on material construction. The project will conclude with a market analysis and economic assessment of applications for the technology

The project will transition the newly developed emitter materials from laboratory scale to pilot scale followed by comprehensive testing that will involve strategic manufacturing partners as part of the pre commercialization process.

In this project, the Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will demonstrate and evaluate LED lighting and controls. The LRC will first evaluate a range of commercially available but currently underutilized control products and systems, from simple stand-alone controls, to fixture-integrated products, and more complex automated control systems. The LRC will review the features, operations, and protocols of each system selected and will analyze the operation of these control products with various types of drivers commonly used in commercially available LED lighting products. Once this review is complete, the LRC will down select two or more control systems to demonstrate and evaluate in different areas of an existing office building. The LRC will also select and install LED lighting fixtures to retrofit the existing fluorescent lighting in the building. Once the systems are installed and commissioned, the LRC will evaluate the operation of the control and LED lighting systems and compare their performance, operation, energy savings, and occupant acceptance to each other, as well as to the previously existing lighting system.

Activities under this project will advance the development and market readiness of Vital Vio lighting products. These activities include characterization and optimization of Vital Vios current prototypes, full scale design concepts, LED module requirements including design and thermal analysis, LED module for incorporation into final fixture designs, various testing and certifications, and pilot implementations.

Steven Winter Associates will develop and test methods for estimating the savings potential for partially or fully sealing these opening using tools common to energy auditors. The costs and benefits of best practice approaches for reducing energy losses through elevator and stairwell vents will be determined. A technical report will also be prepared for building owners, coop board of directors and energy auditors.

This project involved researching the feasibility of commercial "humidity sponges", which could help even out daily and multi-day fluctuations of relative humidity in building spaces. This proof of concept study investigated the wicking and water vapor transfer properties of several materials, in addition to the topology and material properties of the structures termites use to manage humidity in their colonies. The project completed with a market analysis, in order to better understand the marketplace for passive or transient building controls in the energy-efficient dehumidification market space.

Hydronic Specialty Supply is developing a thermal storage system with enhanced stratification and smart controls. The thermal storage system will have features that account for many of the known issues affecting current thermal storage tanks. The design and layout of the tank, including inlet and outlet ports, will be optimized for temperature stratification necessary for a hydronic heating system. However, the system will also include features allowing it to easily integrate with optional heat transfer capabilities, including solar thermal input or DHW output. The overall goal is to develop an enhanced solution for the biomass heating marketplace at an economical price point, while improving overall system performance. After design and prototype fabrication, the thermal storage system will be evaluated in an independent laboratory and field tested, with the final product being ASME certified.