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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 demonstrate the installation of innovative technologies to retrofit an existing, low-income, mixed-use multi-unit building in a dense urban setting to become zero net energy (ZNE). Innovative strategies include a rapid new technology discovery and assessment approach, to ensure the most current emerging technologies are incorporated, as well as innovative measurement and verification. These approaches and other ZNE design process innovations will be packaged into an advanced ZNE design methodology for use in the demonstration project as well as broad dissemination to the design and innovation community. Numerous technical innovations and pre-commercial technologies are planned for inclusion including dynamic chromatic glass, heat recovery ventilators, variable refrigerant flow, occupancy based plug-load management, advanced light emitting diode lighting systems and a combined photovoltaic-thermal system.

This project will demonstrate the installation of innovative technologies to retrofit an existing, low-income, mixed-use multi-unit building in a dense urban setting to become zero net energy (ZNE). Innovative strategies include a rapid new technology discovery and assessment approach, to ensure the most current emerging technologies are incorporated, as well as innovative measurement and verification. These approaches and other ZNE design process innovations will be packaged into an advanced ZNE design methodology for use in the demonstration project as well as broad dissemination to the design and innovation community. Numerous technical innovations and pre-commercial technologies are planned for inclusion including dynamic chromatic glass, heat recovery ventilators, variable refrigerant flow, occupancy based plug-load management, advanced light emitting diode lighting systems and a combined photovoltaic-thermal system.

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.

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.

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.

The goal of this project is to advance air-conditioner and protection or control modeling for implementation in the Phase 2 of Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) composite load model. This project will investigate the impact of motor model aggregation, distribution equivalencing, and positive sequence phasor representation on the model results. Phase 2 composite load model requires additional research and development, which will be addressed by the proposed research project that includes:
1. Advance dynamic modeling of single-phase residential air-conditioners, including more detailed testing, modeling, and validation using both test and disturbance data
2. Developing load composition data sets for a wide variety of commercial buildings, including rules of association that map electrical end uses on load model components
3. Advance modeling of protection, controls and energy management systems used in variety of end use applications and buildings
4. Deploying disturbance data collection systems in distribution systems for dynamic model validation.

Ecotope, Inc. will conduct energy code field studies in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, and Illinois to measure the impact of energy codes on multifamily buildings, and identify opportunities for savings through increased compliance.

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.

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.

Perform NEEA Residential Building Stock Assessment (RBSA) Home data conversion to appliance control scripting via LabVIEW (http://www.ni.com/labview/) to provide an ongoing nonintrusive load monitoring (NILM) technology evaluation platform coupled with better appliance efficiency testing capability.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The new simplified energy enthalpy model (SEEM) project will both document and review the Regional Technical Forum (RTF) residential heating load calibration process. This independent review of the RTF residential heating load calibration process provides due diligence for the recent RTF reduction of residential measure savings, which may result in many existing measures becoming not cost-effective. Also, this review will ensure the new Planning tool (being developed under TIP318) doesnt just incorporate the RTF process, but instead incorporates the most appropriate calibration process. The RTF residential heating load calibration process was questioned at the an RTF meeting because it assumes the same heating load calibration for any heating zone. This project is needed for both existing and future residential measures and the Residential Sector fully supports this project.

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.

HPC will support the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program (HPwES) to engage with stakeholders at regional and national conferences through structured meetings and recognition opportunities; provide business administration, marketing and sales training specific to the home performance industry to program administrator staff and participating contractors; and conduct outreach and develop infrastructure sufficient to increase the number of programs and other market actors that utilize the Building Performance Institutes data collection and transfer standards collectively known as HPXML.

The National Association of State Energy Officials 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.

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.

The Zero Energy Ready Home program recognizes home builders who apply proven innovations and best practices from the U.S. Department of Energys Es Building America research program along with other improvements that help ensure safe, comfortable, healthy, and durable home performance.

The project will serve as proof of concept for large-scale deployment of zero net energy (ZNE) single-family homes in California. The objective is to construct ZNE homes without creating undue cost burdens on businesses or consumers, while assuring that changes to home design do not pose health, safety or other risks to occupants. Additionally, the project will provide industry and regulators with a better understanding of the assumptions associated with site energy use and renewable energy generation and will provide resources to builders to assist them with controlling costs on ZNE home construction.

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