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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.

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 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.

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.

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 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 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 project will develop and demonstrate an approach to scale residential retrofits for disadvantaged communities that will focus on customer-centric solutions. This project will develop and demonstrate an innovative approach, focusing on energy efficient retrofit packages that are non-intrusive to occupants and have the potential of reducing energy use by 30 to 40 percent.

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.

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.

This project will contain three elements to provide data for policymakers and businesses to explore this new market. First, this project will determine prosumer (proactive consumer) interest in a third-party demand response market by testing user acquisition via direct and non-direct engagement strategies. Second, experimentation with behavioral and automated users will allow analysis of user yield under a variety of conditions and extract a set of shadow curves that can inform how much energy load shifting can be expected under various price incentives. Finally, this project will create a novel solution for using residential telemetry to connect prosumers and their Internet of Things (IoT) devices to the market operators.

This project will contain three elements to provide data for policymakers and businesses to explore this new market. First, this project will determine prosumer (proactive consumer) interest in a third-party demand response market by testing user acquisition via direct and non-direct engagement strategies. Second, experimentation with behavioral and automated users will allow analysis of user yield under a variety of conditions and extract a set of shadow curves that can inform how much energy load shifting can be expected under various price incentives. Finally, this project will create a novel solution for using residential telemetry to connect prosumers and their Internet of Things (IoT) devices to the market operators.

The Gas Technology Institute will develop a systems approach for managing air sealing, ventilation, and air distribution to improve a retrofitted home's energy use while maintaining indoor air quality. Ventilation energy savings of up to 30% are possible.

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.

Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance 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.

The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) and the Building Technologies Office (BTO) will work together to enable practicing real estate appraisers to better characterize the value of energy efficient and other green attributes of buildings. TAF will produce documentation that provides voluntary guidance on recognized valuation methods and techniques for valuation professionals.

The Health & Home Performance Initiative was established to support DOE's efforts to leverage the healthcare sector as a partner to help increase leads to contractors and ultimately fund portions of appropriate health-focused home performance improvements. In FY17, a literature review demonstrating associations between improved health and home performance services was published. Also in FY17, DOE is developing a roadmap detailing what is needed and what is currently available to facilitate healthcare integration with EE.

Evidence in a new, groundbreaking Energy Department report, Home Rx: The Health Benefits of Home Performance, shows that home performance upgrades can improve the quality of a homes indoor environment by reducing the prevalence of harmful indoor air pollutants and contaminants. This paper is just one part of the Energy Departments broader Health and Home Performance Initiative. Another step will be to develop messaging that home performance programs, contractors, and partners can use to communicate clearly about the health benefits of home performance work with consumers and stakeholders.

The next step for the Initiative will be to engage with stakeholders to develop a roadmap to facilitate the home performance industrys incorporation of healthcare into their work. Workshops are slated for conferences in January, March, and May 2017.

The Healthy Homes Accelerator aims to better integrate healthy housing principles and practices in energy retrofits and new home construction; and support the creation of local partnerships between key stakeholders that are aimed at overcoming barriers to incorporating enhanced health measures in buildings.

The Home Energy Information Accelerator will demonstrate innovative policies and approaches to spur investment in energy efficiency across our homes, buildings, and industrial facilities.

Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homeowner understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.

Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homeowner understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.

Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homeowner understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.

Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homeowner understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.

Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homeowner understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.

The Home Upgrade Program Accelerator is
designed to help home energy upgrade programs
bring services to more homes across the country
by leveraging data management strategies that
minimize costs while improving overall program
effectiveness. These programs are currently
completing hundreds of thousands of home
upgrades annually with average savings of 20%
for participating households.

The Home Upgrade Program Accelerator is
designed to help home energy upgrade programs
bring services to more homes across the country
by leveraging data management strategies that
minimize costs while improving overall program
effectiveness. These programs are currently
completing hundreds of thousands of home
upgrades annually with average savings of 20%
for participating households.

This project will test the effectiveness of innovative designs for demand response programs for residential customers using a behind-the-meter customer engagement platform developed by Chai Energy. Each of these innovative demand response strategies integrates a recent approach that energy researchers have shown to be effective in reducing customer consumption. These strategies include providing households with a) tailored energy-analytic feedback, b) aggregated versus single-period incentive information, c) non-financial environmental health benefit frames and d) social comparisons. An additional strategy will explore how the timing of the delivered demand response information affects the magnitude of household participation and response

This project will test the effectiveness of innovative designs for demand response programs for residential customers using a behind-the-meter customer engagement platform developed by Chai Energy. Each of these innovative demand response strategies integrates a recent approach that energy researchers have shown to be effective in reducing customer consumption. These strategies include providing households with a) tailored energy-analytic feedback, b) aggregated versus single-period incentive information, c) non-financial environmental health benefit frames and d) social comparisons. An additional strategy will explore how the timing of the delivered demand response information affects the magnitude of household participation and response

The Levy Partnership, Inc. will develop low-cost, highly efficient comfort system designs to enable affordably built homes to use heat pumps with superior air distribution systems. This demonstration could result in 50% energy savings over 2009 code requirements.

The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance 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.

Maryland Energy Administration 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.

The project will implement lessons learned from previous high performance housing research and measure the results in two new houses built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and homeowners. The houses will be built in a disadvantaged community in Stockton. Each house will include advanced architectural design features, high performance enclosures, advanced heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, low-cost water heating systems and other advanced energy efficiency measures. One all-electric home and one mixed fuel (combined electric and natural gas) home will be built to demonstrate the respective costeffectiveness of each set of features. In addition to the measured results from actual occupancy, the project will develop a guide to affordable residential zero net energy design and construction, training curriculum, and new class offerings based on the project results for building practitioners.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will produce an analysis of home upgrade programs and generate insights into replicable models that can positively impact the much broader energy efficiency program and business community across the U.S. This project supports the U.S. Department of Energy, state, regional, and local partners in reaching the overarching goal to reduce energy use intensity of existing homes by at least 40%.

BPA is seeking to expand multifamily energy efficiency incentive offerings for new and existing construction. The goal is to identify and work out the technical challenges associated with integrating technologies into multifamily buildings. Part of the BPA new multifamily program development work requires building energy modeling comparing multifamily buildings built to Washington State code versus DOE Zero Energy Ready (DOEZER) standards. The project will assess the low-rise multifamily DOE ZER program against the 2015 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) to coordinate the DOE ZER modeling for a target home; and model DOE ZER specifications using SEEM and compare the results to existing 2015 WSEC energy use analysis. Energy savings will be summarized and included in a report describing the analysis methodology, DOEZER and WSEC modeling specifications and the above code savings using one set of target measures.

Design guidelines have helped accelerate the deployment strategies for central hot water systems in multifamily buildings through the Pacific Northwest. This project will deliver two design guidelines for multifamily hot water recirculation loops and central heat pump hot water systems for future use by architects, engineers, contractors and developers by distilling the best practices and findings from recently completed research. Each guideline will present the operating principles, recommended design choices, and give examples where appropriate.

Appalachian State University 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.

The recipient will use EnergyPlus, a building energy modeling tool, to analyze the costeffectiveness of various electricity saving/generation measures for multifamily and commercial buildings in California. For each building type and climate zone, the results will include a cost-benefit analysis for each measure individually and for an optimized package of measures that reduces net electricity consumption to achieve as close to zero net energy as is cost-effectively possible.

The recipient will use EnergyPlus, a building energy modeling tool, to analyze the costeffectiveness of various electricity saving/generation measures for multifamily and commercial buildings in California. For each building type and climate zone, the results will include a cost-benefit analysis for each measure individually and for an optimized package of measures that reduces net electricity consumption to achieve as close to zero net energy as is cost-effectively possible.

The project will provide detailed cost effectiveness modeling of all electric zero net energy (ZNE) homes versus ZNE homes with gas-based heating. Evaluation will include costs of building integration, energy efficiency packages, installed equipment and lifetime investment costs such as energy costs, and infrastructure costs (natural gas pipeline and electricity distribution system). The project will provide both spatial and temporal analysis in providing cost effectiveness assessment in four California climate zones and provide cost evolution scenarios as a function of time, for example as the ZNE industry scales up and under various policy and energy cost assumptions. The analysis will provide policymakers with a better understanding of the costs and benefits of ZNE policy choices between today and future ZNE milestones (2020, 2030), and the trade-offs for all electric versus electric and gas households

The project will provide detailed cost effectiveness modeling of all electric zero net energy (ZNE) homes versus ZNE homes with gas-based heating. Evaluation will include costs of building integration, energy efficiency packages, installed equipment and lifetime investment costs such as energy costs, and infrastructure costs (natural gas pipeline and electricity distribution system). The project will provide both spatial and temporal analysis in providing cost effectiveness assessment in four California climate zones and provide cost evolution scenarios as a function of time, for example as the ZNE industry scales up and under various policy and energy cost assumptions. The analysis will provide policymakers with a better understanding of the costs and benefits of ZNE policy choices between today and future ZNE milestones (2020, 2030), and the trade-offs for all electric versus electric and gas households

Performance Systems Development 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.

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program supports energy efficiency programs to work with qualified home performance contractors to help homeowners turn building-science based improvement recommendations into actual home improvements with installed measures. Currently, there are nearly 2,000 contractors across 32 states offering systematic, whole-home approaches to improving the energy efficiency and comfort to consumers.

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.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will work to significantly increase the capability, cost effectiveness, openness, and reach of the Residential Buildings Integration (RBI) programs tools and analysis methods to accelerate the adoption of zero energy ready homes.

A number of states are integrating residential energy labeling into their policies for new and existing homes. This efforts looks to develop best practices for states working in this area.

In recent years, hundreds of communities have been working to promote energy efficiency upgrades in homes and other buildings, through programs such as the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, utility-sponsored programs, and others. The Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center is a repository for key lessons, resources, and knowledge collected from the experience of these efforts. It is intended to help program administrators and their partners plan, operate, and evaluate residential energy efficiency programs.

In recent years, hundreds of communities have been working to promote energy efficiency upgrades in homes and other buildings, through programs such as the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, utility-sponsored programs, and others. The Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center is a repository for key lessons, resources, and knowledge collected from the experience of these efforts. It is intended to help program administrators and their partners plan, operate, and evaluate residential energy efficiency programs.

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