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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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

The purpose of this agreement is to fund the full-scale deployment demonstration of the Vortex Process Technology in cooling towers of commercial buildings. This technology has been used successfully in Europe and will be testing in California to address state specific goals for water and energy savings

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 project goal is to demonstrate the substantial demand response (DR) and energy savings are achievable in supermarket refrigeration systems and that the integrity and safety of refrigerated products will be maintained to minimize risks to supermarket owners and customers. The project plans to analyze supermarket refrigeration energy loads in the Pacific Northwest for both demand response and energy efficiency. The purpose is to identify the most promising control strategies and technologies that can yield energy savings and demand response as part of an integrated management approach.

Demonstrate Strategic Energy Management Analytics (Build Plus) in 2 buildings for 1 year. This research builds on a tool created with funding through BPAs Technology Innovation Research and Development Program. Work has continued to refine the tool and research needs to be conducted to verify savings. The tools will be installed at the facilities for up to 1 year starting in 2016 and analyses will follow in late 2017.

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.

Envision Charlotte will expand its energy management approaches to more than triple the number of participating buildings. By adding additional participants, Envision Charlotte will continue to foster innovation in conserving energy and reducing operating costs.

The New Buildings Institute will work in a variety cities around the country to systematically identify how energy codes and other policy measures influence energy consumption patterns in municipal buildings. The New Buildings Institute will develop a methodology to measure the impact of codes on municipal building portfolios, and provide local governments with tools to identify which buildings are ripe for energy efficiency-related investments.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association will improve energy savings in the retail sector by helping energy managers secure financing for efficiency projects—a key barrier to energy efficiency investment in this sector. This project will result in at least five new replicable energy financial management strategies.

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.

This project will develop and evaluate cost-effective packages of pre-commercial integrated energy efficiency measures and controls to achieve zero net energy (ZNE) performance for multi-story small commercial offices in San Francisco and Southern California. The packages will target a minimum of 50 percent energy savings when compared to standard building energy use. The packages of energy efficiency measures will be analyzed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's FLEXLAB, an advanced facility for testing whole-building integrated systems, to develop and validate solutions under varied climate and use conditions. The simulation models will be validated through results from FLEXLAB testing and a 3-story whole-building demonstration pilot located in San Francisco. Data on energy, occupant comfort, and occupant behavior will be analyzed and packaged into best practices to be replicated elsewhere in the State.

This project will develop and evaluate cost-effective packages of pre-commercial integrated energy efficiency measures and controls to achieve zero net energy (ZNE) performance for multi-story small commercial offices in San Francisco and Southern California. The packages will target a minimum of 50 percent energy savings when compared to standard building energy use. The packages of energy efficiency measures will be analyzed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's FLEXLAB, an advanced facility for testing whole-building integrated systems, to develop and validate solutions under varied climate and use conditions. The simulation models will be validated through results from FLEXLAB testing and a 3-story whole-building demonstration pilot located in San Francisco. Data on energy, occupant comfort, and occupant behavior will be analyzed and packaged into best practices to be replicated elsewhere in the State.

This project will demonstrate a cost-effective pathway to achieving maximum energy efficiency in a grocery store. The project will identify and install a comprehensive costeffective energy efficiency upgrade package that utilizes innovative strategies such as advanced heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, refrigerants, fans, air curtains, phase change materials, occupancy sensing measures and advanced lighting and controls. The project will also provide new design approaches that allow for rapid technology discovery and incorporation to ensure the most current technologies are implemented into the design.

This project will demonstrate a cost-effective pathway to achieving maximum energy efficiency in a grocery store. The project will identify and install a comprehensive costeffective energy efficiency upgrade package that utilizes innovative strategies such as advanced heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, refrigerants, fans, air curtains, phase change materials, occupancy sensing measures and advanced lighting and controls. The project will also provide new design approaches that allow for rapid technology discovery and incorporation to ensure the most current technologies are implemented into the design.

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.

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.

This project will integrate water features into a novel heat exchanger which uses high performance porous fins to enhance cooling ability. Bench scale testing has shown the ability of the heat exchanger to enhance cooling through water vaporization and mass transfer. By integrating the proven heat exchanger with water features, this project has the potential to create a low cost and low risk product to reduce electric power and water use of refrigeration systems in California.

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.

This project will integrate pre-commercial energy efficiency measures, building automation and controls system, behind the meter solar photovoltaic and energy storage in three existing public libraries in the City of San Diego. In addition to demonstrating cost-effective pathways to achieving maximum energy efficiency in the small commercial/municipal building sector, the recipient will engage in a multiyear, flexible, and transparent collaboration aimed at uncovering, testing, verifying and publicizing strategies for integrating energy efficiency, energy storage, solar photovoltaics, and other demand side resources to achieve near zero net energy in each library and to evaluate the financial value proposition.

International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology will expand its one-stop-shop model to address the Small Commercial Apartment Property market with deeper retrofit. Using the model is expected to cut energy use by 20-30% in small commercial apartment properties, reduce individual building utility bills by $3,100 annually, and create 200 jobs.

Ecology Action of Santa Cruz will develop a platform for energy efficiency program administrators that offers a comprehensive set of energy-saving measures, integrated financing tools, and expedited project measurement and verification via a contractor-driven delivery model. The platform seeks to average at least 20% energy savings per building.

Will proven strategies from residential behavioral programs provide savings in a small commercial application? Snohomish County Public Utility District's pilot will test behavior change in the commercial sector. A solution for this sector would be highly attractive to utilities with small commercial facility end users, which represent a significant untapped energy savings resource with unique barriers to participation in behavior change programs. The pilot project is a joint venture between Snohomish County Public Utility District, PECI, Lucid, and Starbucks. The pilot will be implemented at several Puget Sound area Starbucks stores and involves providing staff with frequent energy use data and between-store competitions. If successful, the approach could be scaled to similar facilities across the region. Starbucks has over 700 stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Improvement on previous work: Very little work has been done in the small commercial arena and no pilots have been done with a large chain, such as Starbucks.

This project researched new phase change materials (PCM) to store thermal energy for wall assemblies, and develop associated software tools. Heat is absorbed or released when the materials change from solid to liquid or vice versa. PCMs absorb thermal energy and they can reduce the need for heating and cooling in some buildings. Their impact is similar to that of adding thermal mass to the building. Unlike air conditioning systems, they require no maintenance. The use of PCMs and associated software tools can contribute to zero net energy commercial buildings by reducing the energy needs of a building through passive design.

This project leverages deep-retrofit work completed by NEEA, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and provides BPA with retrofit packages for our Maintenance Head Quarter and Heavy Mobile Equipment Shop buildings. The two retrofit packages are projected to achieve 35 and 50% energy savings through upgrades to the building envelope, lighting and HVAC systems while helping BPA meet Executive Order (EO) 13693 which calls for all new federal buildings to be net zero ready by 2030 and requires that existing buildings reduce building energy intensity by 2.5% annually through 2025 while promoting deep retrofit packages for similar buildings in the region through net zero energy building guidelines. Information from this research will be applied to new retrofit packages for other commercial buildings within the BPA service territory.

This project will leverage the NEEA developed Sparktool, which is a high level decision making tool for deep energy retrofits. Research will demonstrate the tool in one building to assess its future application. This tool can be used by utilities to help their key accounts plan deep energy retrofits.