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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.

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

The University of Florida will develop a technology for compact, low-cost combined water heating, dehumidification, and space cooling. This technology has the potential to save 480 TBtu/year in water heating and an additional 135 TBtu/year by reducing the air conditioning load.

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

The Industrial Science & Technology Network, Inc. will develop an environmentally clean, cost-effective building insulation with superior performance. Commercialization of this technology would reduce U.S. energy consumption related to building envelope components by 7%, equal to $8 billion in annual economic savings.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will identify an alternative method to estimate two difficult-to-measure inputs used in building energy modeling. The end product will simplify and help automate the process of creating a calibrated model for existing buildings.

This proposal responds to BPA TIFO Interest Area 7, Cold Climate Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH). We propose to develop and demonstrate a novel integrated HPWH customized for demand response (DR) and efficient operation in cold climate homes.

Steven Winter Associates will validate the heating and occupant-based savings in existing multifamily units using "smart" and connected terminal unit controls.

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

Argonne National Laboratory will develop an acoustic method of measuring the infiltration of a building envelope. The method will enable infiltration measurement of all buildings, which could lead to decreased building energy use.

Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), with its partner 3M, is developing adhesive chemistries for bonding aluminum and copper during heat exchanger manufacture, resulting in enhanced bonding and significant energy savings.

This work will determine the savings and the cost-effectiveness of advanced rooftop unit controller (ARC) Light Retrofits. This work will support a new evaluated measure through the development of a Standard Protocol, based on 38 Zeros meters and the ARC retrofit fan-only analysis. Utility grants will fully fund the installation of up to 30 ARC Light Retrofits, where 38 Zeros meter installations are also fully funded, with one-year of data hosting. (ARC Light Retrofits are expected to cost around $2,000, while the 38 Zeros meter installations are expected to cost around $1,500, including one year of data-hosting and retrieval of the 38 Zeros meter.) All grants will be paid by 9/15/15 because of the inability to spend money in the new rate period. Based on EER feedback, utilities will claim self-funded (non-EEI) savings as FY15 custom projects.

The purpose of this research is to develop and demonstrate an integrated humidity and ventilation control solution to improve indoor air quality, comfort, and energy performance for low-load homes in hot-humid and mixed-humid climates.

This project deploys APMD technology over a large sample size, at approximately 55,000 computer workstations at several Community Colleges, and focuses on integrating the technology with facility operations to ensure that they meet the needs of the sites and staff. Key features of the proposed project include outreach and individual education programs to California Community College Districts, evaluation of sites for participation in the project, purchase and installation of APMDs at approved sites, measurement and verification (M&V) activities both pre- and post-APMD implementation at the selected demonstration sites, and stakeholder satisfaction information from demonstration facilities staff and APMD end-users through interviews and surveys.

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

The goal is to develop a standard protocol to verify site-based savings for advanced rooftop unit (RTU) control (ARC) retrofits, based on manufacturer variable frequency drive (VFD) data. This will streamline the acquisition of 1 aMW of ARC retrofits and lower the cost of the impact evaluation. This project will draft a standard protocol to verify ARC retrofit site-based savings using Catalyst controller data. The project will compare best practice (unit-level, true-power over one-year with daily baseline cycling, as reported in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study) and four simplified savings methods, to determine a simplest-reliable method. Deliverables include a draft protocol and presentations to the RTUG and, if appropriate, to the RTF. Once approved, the standard protocol would allow the streamlined acquisition of ARC retrofits because baseline metering and long-term baseline cycling would not be required. Once 1 aMW of ARC retrofits (approximately 1,000 RTUs) are reported, several years of Catalyst controller data would be available for most of the units for the impact evaluation. Using the standard protocol and manufacturer data, no post-post cycling or additional instrumentation, such as Wattnodes for unit-level true-power, will be required.

Optimized Thermal Systems, with their partners Heat Transfer Technologies, LLC, and interest from United Technologies Research Center, will develop a manufacturing procedure for a serpentine heat exchanger for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems that has 90% fewer joints than current heat exchangers.

The University of Minnesota will field test an innovative insulated solid-panel building envelope system that (1) eliminates thermal bridging, improves durability, and reduces construction costs compared to conventional, wood-framed construction; and (2) is appropriate for the affordable housing market.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in partnership with a US based global manufacturing services provider will design, construct, and demonstrate an affordable heat pump clothes dryer (HPCD) suitable for the US market. A novel hybrid HPCD will be developed and demonstrated to save at least 50% of the energy used by conventional electric dryers, and will have a payback of less than five years for at least 25% of BPA residential customers.

The University of Minnesota: Twin Cities will field test an innovative insulated solid-panel building envelope system that (1) eliminates thermal bridging, improves durability, and reduces construction costs compared to conventional, wood-framed construction; and (2) is appropriate for the affordable housing market.

Clemson University, with their partners Harvard University, Phase IV Engineering Corp., and Iowa Energy Center, will develop, demonstrate and pre-commercialize low-cost, digital plug-and-play, passive radio frequency identification sensors for measuring indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, which will improve building operations and cut energy costs.

The 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).

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

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

High performance, low-load homes face unique space conditioning challenges that are not adequately addressed by HVAC design practices and equipment offerings. Equipment manufacturers have yet to include a diverse set of low-capacity equipment in their product offerings due to a lack of understanding of (1) where the low-load home market is headed and (2) the load profiles typical to low-load homes. This project looks to address both of these information gaps and ultimately send the necessary low-capacity equipment market signals to manufacturers, enabling them to design better products to meet production builder needs. The team will develop a technical whitepaper and presentation on the performance and cost tradeoffs of various equipment types/systems at meeting the comfort requirements of low-load homes, and forecasting the market penetration and equipment needs for these low-load homes.

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.

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

The Automated Cloud-based Continuously Optimizing Building Energy Management System (ACCO-BEMS) overcomes limitations of existing energy management systems by automating optimized control of building systems and devices. The technology overcomes limitations of existing energy management systems and eliminates the need for expensive reprogramming needed to implement optimization measures. As such, the technology can co-exist with existing systems in retrofit applications, or it can be implemented as a new installation.

This project entails the measurement of time-integrated concentrations and temporal profiles of humidity and established contaminants of concern in a minimum of 64 new homes located in cold and marine climate zones.

This project is part of a national study aimed at characterizing indoor air quality in occupied homes. The homes will be up to current energy codes, and researchers will closely monitor the use and performance of mechanical ventilation systems in those homes. Indoor and outdoor air will be sampled for formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and particulates as part of the indoor air quality characterization.

During BPA's 2016 Multifamily Technical Advisory Group, this technology was evaluated and recommended for future research. BPA is joining with NEEA and Ecotope to conduct a bench test to determine if this will be a viable alternative to conduct future field tests in the Pacific Northwest. The bench test will be document the system performance and noise levels to determine if the unit is ready for more lab and field tests.

This project will develop test procedures for alternative refrigerants for flammability and energy savings characterization and to develop a “favorability” index of end-use market segments and equipment types based on potential GHG savings impact and commercial feasibility and adoption.

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 project optimizes and simplifies control upgrades to demonstrate energy savings while improving occupant comfort. This demonstration uses automated fault detection and diagnostics and continuous commissioning with the use of advanced measurement and verification procedures. The agreement includes recommendations for strategies, tools, and initiatives to address market barriers and promote large scale market adoption.

The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems will develop a plastic foam for use in U.S. buildings that is less expensive, mechanically stronger, and more environmentally friendly than current options. This foam will satisfy fire safety codes without the need for fire retardants and is easy to install.

BPA completed four installations of the rooftop unit (RTU) Catalyst unit, a packaged controls technology providing variable frequency drive (VFD) and demand control ventilation (DCV). These controllers were retrofits for packaged HVAC systems on four BPA buildings. Installations were completed during 2014.

The researchers developed long-term energy scenarios for California that comply with GHG emission targets and goals. The scenarios provide new insights about technology options and by when some of this options should be implemented.

The University of Central Florida will demonstrate and validate energy-efficient residential ventilation and space conditioning systems. Advanced whole-house residential construction practices can achieve 50% energy savings compared to houses built to code in hot/humid climates.

The Georgia Institute of Technology will support 20 student project teams in developing building energy efficiency technologies through a capstone design project. This effort will better prepare students for employment in the building energy efficiency sector. Additionally, the combined energy savings from these projects is estimated to add up to over 1.8 Quads per year.

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

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

This project demonstrates three innovative bundles of pre-commercial technologies. The technology bundles were strategically developed through a systems-level approach to address the most energy-intensive areas in commercial buildings. These include: (1) Chilled Water Plants: Optimized all-variable-speed chilled-water (CHW) plants utilizing alternative refrigerant chillers. (2) Office and Exterior Space LED fixtures with integrated advanced controls, advanced building management system (BMS), and plug load controls controllable for demand response (DR), and off-grid, exterior, LED lighting in the parking lot, and lastly (3) Advanced laboratory ventilation, fume hood exhaust, and direct current (DC) lighting systems.

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

The Window Covering Manufacturing Association will create the Attachments Energy Rating Council to develop an independent rating, certification, labeling, and performance verification program for window attachments. This program will help drive market penetration of energy-saving products and further innovation in the industry.

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

This project will develop and demonstrate a Climate Appropriate Air Conditioning system for commercial buildings. The heart of this system is an intelligent HVAC controller that processes signals from building sensors and system feed-back to maximize system efficiency. This control system will manage two technologies to optimize building energy and peak demand reduction. Getting fresh air into commercial buildings is a code requirement. However, the ingress of hot air into a cooling system and vice versa presents an inefficiency problem. This project will evaluate heat-recovery ventilation (HRV) and indirect evaporative cooling (IEC) to decrease the temperature of the incoming air in the summer and increase it in the winter. Both technologies can be intelligently controlled by the building controller to reduce cooling and heating costs. This project will also research low global warming refrigerants for commercial buildings

Overall goal is to facilitate commercialization of this technology in the Pacific Northwest. This is a continuation of the previous and current work with the Sanden split system heat pump water heater (HPWH). Sanden will provide a UL listed version of its split system HPWH designed for marketing in the US with particular focus on the Pacific Northwest. This project will assess and report on the market readiness of this product after examining: 1) freeze protection strategy and operation for both power on (including circulation and heat tape) and power off; 2) tank port layout and threads from both water heating and combined space and water heating system perspectives; 3) electrical connections; 4) labeling; 5) documentation including user and installation manuals; 6) warranty and service provisions; 7) cost; 8) installation training materials and strategy; and 9) marketing and installation strategies.

NEEP conducted a market assessment of existing installer practices as well as existing guidance tools, protocols and resources specific to cold climates. Using the market assessment findings, NEEP developed ccashp design and installation guidance for trade contractors. The documents are developed to assist installers around sizing and selecting ASHPs for cold climate applications, while preserving high efficiency, performance, and customer satisfaction. HI Cat will cross-promote and link to the guidance.

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.

The Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program, in partnership with Cowlitz PUD, Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), Idaho Power, Inland Power and Light, Northwest energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), Pacific Gas and Electric, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Mitsubishi Electric and Sanden International proposes to conduct research on two types of combined space and water heat pumps in field and controlled experiments in existing homes of various efficiencies and climates. One technology uses carbon dioxide (CO2) refrigerant and will be tested for performance at six field sites and at the PNNL lab homes for efficiency and demand response capability. The second technology uses a conventional refrigerant and combines ductless heat pump space heating and cooling technology with water heating and will be field tested at five locations in the region's hottest and coldest climates as well as in the marine coastal zone. Costs of system installation, monitoring and retrofit will be collected and analyzed.

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