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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 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.

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.

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.

This project is a controlled field study and lab test that assessed the demand response (DR) potential of split system and unitary heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) that use carbon dioxide (CO2) refrigerant. The researchers included Washington State University (WSU), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Efficiency Solutions, and Ecotope working with Cascade Engineering Services.

Optimize heat pump water heater (HPWH) next generation project for both EE and DR. The major objectives of the project are:
1. Demonstrate and quantify the energy performance of the prototype GE Brillion GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater with and without exhaust air ducting over heating and cooling conditions in the lab homes
2. Evaluate or quantify the potential for the GE smart grid-enabled HPWH to provide demand response (to both increase/absorb [INC] and decrease/shed/shift [DEC] load) under various price signals sent to the unit.

In addition, the proposed project will provide GE information to determine and design the optimal ducting configurations for their unit should they decide to offer this feature as an option for this new-to-the-market unit.

Hudson Fisonic will develop, design, manufacture, and install FDs for space heating and domestic hot water at the Woolworth building (57 stories, 900k ft2). The performance of the FD will be monitored for 12 months to determine the steam and potable water savings from use of this technology. Hudson Fisonic will start the commercialization of the FD technology by engaging the manufacturer - Division LLC Corporation, located in Long Island City, New York, in fabricating and preparing the necessary facilities and equipment for commercial manufacturing of FDs

Optimize heat pump water heater (HPWH) next generation project for both energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR). In recent years, heat pump water heaters have reemerged as a potentially high impact energy efficient technology. Hybrid heat pump water heaters have been shown by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to provide high efficiency electric water heating. The EPRI Energy Efficiency Demonstration has shown energy savings of 20-40% over conventional water heaters in preliminary analysis. The project will address: the feasibility of variable speed compressors to eliminate electric resistance backup; alternative refrigerants and system configurations; demand response and ancillary service opportunities and strategies, and whole building impacts of heat pump water heater systems.

This supplemental project has been designed to provide utilities a means of working together in a coordinated fashion to test this concept in field environments. The goals of this supplemental project are:
1. To prove the performance of universal Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) 2045 communications port (comm port)
2. Convince manufacturers that the installation of a simple comm port is very low-cost, and makes their equipment easy to incorporate into any utility demand response (DR) program nationwide so that it could eventually become standard practice on all water heaters. If that can be achieved, then the question of whether or not a customer participates in a utility DR program becomes a simpler customer choice.

Heating water for commercial is identified in the 7th Power Plan as desired measures. The goal of this project is to fund the design, installation, commissioning and warranty of a large commercial heat pump water heater (HPWHs) as an Emerging Technology Field Test. BPA will award fund utility grants to design, install and commissioning the unit, meter energy usage and provide data to BPA for further analyses. Each utility will also provide results regarding the design, installation, and commissioning of the unit which will be shared publically

The project includes feasibility and design studies followed by demonstration of a large central reverse cycle chiller (RCC) or heat pump water heaters for energy efficient production of domestic hot water in multifamily residential projects. Feasibility and design studies were completed in 2010. The first installation was completed in November 2012; a second installation was completed in the Spring 2013. The next phase of the project will include measurement and verification of energy savings. The project will conclude with a final report of lessons learned and recommendations for future applications of this technology. This project will look to answer the following research question: quantify the energy savings using a large heat pump water heater (or called RCC) vs. electric resistance domestic hot water in a multifamily (MF) application to prove the concept, and understand technical challenges and whether this is a good technology for multifamily sector.

This is a continuation of the previous and current work with the Sanden split system HPWH which was funded through TI. To date, 4 installations have been completed in the NW region. Following the successful completion of a Market and Technical Assessment, BPA will seek additional installations to document energy savings; demonstrate the viability of the product in the NW; and produce user and installation manuals to facilitate the market update of this technology.

The Contractor seeks to baseline test, install, and evaluate the performance of a 21kW micro-CHP system, that provides hot water and power as a packaged unit, at (2) Host Sites in NY. The proposed System shall feature a synchronous generator and black-start capability. The goal of the project is to provide manufacturers, building owners, and installers information regarding the deployment of micro-CHP systems, in order to promote a sustainable market for micro-CHP systems in NY. Once the Host Sites are selected, the System shall be independently tested and configured and the Host Sites shall be prepared for the proper integration of the Systems on-site. The Systems shall be installed and monitored for 12 months before developing a report to disseminate to the stakeholders.

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.

This project will develop a TL-N heat pump that will incorporate several substantial innovations to improve efficiency, reduce complexity and manufacturing cost and place TL-N at an attractive price point compared to traditional building HAC-HW systems. The goal of this project is to complete the research and development necessary to redesign the purely mechanical system previously developed into an advanced mechanical/electronic or mechatronic system, and will produce two working prototypes. The design, build, and testing of these prototypes will be accomplished in this effort. The TL-N mechatronic-driven system will incorporate several innovations to improve performance and reduce costs. These include an ultra-low-emission combustion burner, electronically-controlled actuators for cycle efficiency improvement, and innovative heat exchangers. Adaptation of these low cost mature technologies into the heat pump design will significantly increase operational efficiencies of the thermodynamic process while reducing cost.

Although on-demand water heaters are 37% more efficient than storage water heaters, they are significantly more expensive. The increased cost results from use of multi-stage burner banks that require complex electronic controls. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (LBNL) Low Swirl Burner (LSB) could reduce burner complexity for these appliances. Manufacturing costs may be reduced if LBNL's LSB technology is successfully applied to on-demand water heaters. LBNL performed laboratory testing to confirm the technical suitability of the LSB for on-demand water heaters across relevant product specifications.

Via a controlled demonstration, this project will provide economic justification and a plan for a market transformation effort to cause all new water heaters sold in the Pacific North West to be sold with the CEA-2045 modular communication interface and to include demand responsive behavior built into the electronic controls so the water heater will be DR ready. Update: This project is progressing. Recently, utility grants were awarded to fund locations for installations later this year.

This project proposes to design, pilot, and verify air-source, CO2 heat pump water heaters for domestic water heating in small-scale multifamily buildings. A second, significant goal of the project is to enable technology transfer.

Variable Capacity Heat Pump Test Protocol for Northern Climates. BPA is collaborating with 7 Canadian utilities and Natural Resources Canada, with the assistance of the Canadian Standards Association, and US industry partners Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), NEEA and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to develop a test protocol standard for Variable Capacity Heat Pumps (VCHP) designed for Cold Climates. This test protocol means BPA will be able to confidently predict the performance of new VCHP market entrant without expensive field testing. BPA has engaged EPRI to participate in the international proceedings and to test and verify the final protocol recommendation before formal adoption by BPA.

Ecotope, in partnership with Vulcan Real Estate and Seattle City Light proposes to design, pilot and verify a heat pump water heating system for large multifamily buildings using the building sewage as a heat source. The waste water heat pump (WWHP) will recover waste heat streams from the building and heat water for domestic use at extremely high performance levels. The system will be built in a large multifamily building with approximately 400 apartment units. The project team will conduct a feasibility study of the system concept and a numerical model to predict the best equipment sizing and control algorithms. With the feasibility demonstrated the team will move on to full system design in a multifamily building. The team will write a measurement plan to monitor the energy use of the system. The team will commission the system, optimize its operation and prepare a set of design guidelines to be used throughout the engineering community.