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Research Tracker

This tool is intended for researchers and program managers to quickly find research projects around the country that are relevant to their work. The four organizations who provided content for this purpose represent the largest energy efficient buildings research portfolios in the country. These organizations each provided the content that they were comfortable sharing publically. Therefore, upon clicking on a particular project, it is possible that certain pieces of content are not present. Where possible, a point of contact is provided so that specific questions can be directed to that person. We welcome your comments! If you would like to provide any feedback on this tool (positive or constructive) please email basc@pnnl.gov.

The project will focus on the performance of different attic assemblies and their associated heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Field measurements of attic and HVAC system performance will be conducted in two new high performance homes in California with sealed and insulated attics. One home will be built to be about 30 percent better than Title 24 and the other will be a ZNE home. The attic insulation approach will be a new lower-cost approach using blown insulation that does not use expensive spray-foam. The results of the measurements will be used directly to provide technical support for potential changes to Title 24 and provide information to contractors and builders on sealed and insulated attic performance and alternative approaches.

Three different attic designs will be refined, tested, evaluated, and demonstrated in new home construction. The team will recommend the best of these approaches to home builders addressing cost-effectiveness and energy-efficiency. The baseline for comparison will be current energy efficiency code practices for attic construction involving ventilated, uninsulated attics containing code compliant ducts. The team will evaluate the new design approaches analytically at the start of the project. Researchers will assess approaches that include methods to produce sealed, insulated attics, as well as, standard vented attics, both of which have been demonstrated and are in limited use in the market today but currently add considerable cost to builders. The team will employ new and novel installation methods and materials that have the potential for energy savings on par with ducts in the conditioned space, but at a cost similar to current practice.

This project will develop, validate and quantify energy impacts of a new generation of high performance facade systems and provide the design and management toolkits that will enable the building industry to meet challenging energy performance goals leading to net zero buildings by 2030. Building envelope technologies can be integrated into a cost-effective system that reduces energy-use associated with HVAC and lighting while improving occupant comfort. Technology development activities include highly insulating (Hi-R) windows, energy recovery-based envelope ventilation systems, and dynamic daylight redirecting systems. Supporting tools, data, and design methods will also be developed to enable widespread, reliable, cost-effective deployment throughout California.

Heating and cooling represents the greatest energy consumption in buildings. This agreement develops thermal building insulation material with high R-value at a cost competitive to conventional insulation materials. The expected result provides a significant increase in energy efficiency for retrofitting buildings.

Increasing the albedo (solar reflectance) of a building's envelope reduces solar heat gain in the cooling season. Raising envelope albedo can also cool the outside air, boosting energy savings and demand reduction by decreasing the air temperature difference across the building envelope. Lowering urban surface and air temperatures improves air quality by slowing the reactions that produce smog, and delays global warming through negative radiative forcing ("global cooling"). Current data are insufficient to accurately predict savings impacts for different cool wall materials; which prevents cool wall technology from being included in building standards or utility rebate programs.

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.