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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 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.

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 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 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 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 purpose of this Agreement is to develop a holistic community action plan to achieve climate benefits and air quality improvements through energy efficiency measures, electrification, and distributed energy resources in the residential building and light-duty and medium-duty transportation sectors in the city of Fresno.

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.

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 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.

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.

This project takes a different approach to achieving white electroluminescence, which involves the use of a combination of fluorescent and phosphorescent emitters. These hybrid fluorescent/phosphorescent WOLEDs will give markedly improved cell efficacy and lifetime.

The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships will demonstrate advanced lighting controls (ALCs), which turn off or dim lights when they are not in use, in 10 buildings in order to address barriers to ALC adoption. Installing ALC systems in all commercial buildings would save approximately 1,053 TBtu of energy or $10.4 billion/year.

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.

Maryland Energy and Sensor Technologies, LLC will develop a compact, high-efficiency thermoelastic cooling system. This next-generation HVAC technology will have low environmental impact and a small carbon footprint and could lead to substantial efficiency gains in building heating and cooling.

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.

This project will develop and pilot-test a complete, low cost, and standards based Retail Automated Transactive Energy System (RATES), and behind the meter energy management solution, that minimizes the cost and complexity of customer participation in energy efficiency programs, while maximizing the potential of large numbers of small loads to improve system load factor, shave peaks, integrate renewable generation and otherwise provide low opportunity-cost resources to the grid.

This project will develop and pilot-test a complete, low cost, and standards based Retail Automated Transactive Energy System (RATES), and behind the meter energy management solution, that minimizes the cost and complexity of customer participation in energy efficiency programs, while maximizing the potential of large numbers of small loads to improve system load factor, shave peaks, integrate renewable generation and otherwise provide low opportunity-cost resources to the grid.

NextEnergywill reduce market barriers to adoption of lighting controls solution to spur market adoption. This will be achieved through demonstrations, consumer education, and utility incentive adjustment. NextEnergy and partners will train over 100 contractors in advanced lighting controls and simplified installation methods and develop a model for streamlined incentives for lighting controls.

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

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 assess factors affecting the scale of solar water heating (SWH) installations, such as system cost, performance, and reliability and scale. Such factors impact whether a project is undertaken at the individual or community level. The project team will consider different SWH technologies, installation types and financing mechanisms and develop a model to address questions on investing in solar water heating and how investments can be focused to maximize uptake of SWH. The team aims to quantify state-level energy and emissions impacts of the reduction in natural gas usage from solar water heating installations.

BlocPower will develop a crowd-sourcing website to help market, finance, and install energy efficiency retrofits for 1,500 small buildings in low-income communities across the country. These efforts could help these communities achieve notable energy savings and reduce their carbon emissions.

This project will develop and demonstrate an approach to scale residential retrofits for disadvantaged communities that will focus on customer-centric solutions. This project will develop and demonstrate an innovative approach, focusing on energy efficient retrofit packages that are non-intrusive to occupants and have the potential of reducing energy use by 30 to 40 percent.

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 purpose of this project is to improve small and large commercial customer participation in demand response programs by providing a cost-effective energy management system that allows a wide range of hardware and service offerings as well as effective and automated price-based management.

The purpose of this project is to improve small and large commercial customer participation in demand response programs by providing a cost-effective energy management system that allows a wide range of hardware and service offerings as well as effective and automated price-based management.

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.

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.

This project seeks to conduct the technical analyses, demonstration, market evaluation, and regulatory engagement necessary to realize cost-effective high-accuracy measurement and verification (M&V) for northwest efficiency programs. The focus of the effort is whole-building M&V for commercial buildings.

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.

The proposed project will demonstrate Transformative Wave Technology eIQ building management system (BMS) year-round capability for meeting BPA demand response criteria for roof top units, lighting, miscellaneous electric loads, and electric hot water heaters. The demand response that will be met will be for day-ahead response, under 10-minute response and permanent load reduction. The goal is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness, feasibility and scalability of the eIA BMS for both energy efficiency and demand response.

This project will demonstrate cost-competitive ZNE design strategies that combine occupant needs with technology solutions to create new pathways for residential ZNE communities. The project's goals are cost effectiveness for the customer, affordability, overcoming customer apprehension, establishing a track record of new technology for builders, enabling distribution grid integration, creating a planning process for ZNE communities, evaluating community solar and evaluating the impact of future changes to ZNE cost effectiveness. This project will also aim to understand the operation and energy use of the unregulated loads.

A.O. Smith Corporation will demonstrate underutilized micro-combined-heat-and-power (micro-CHP) applications, which produce electricity and heat from a single source, in buildings with significant hot water demand. These micro-CHP applications can provide 38% energy savings in these building types.

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will work with the Lighting Design Lab at Seattle City Light (SCL), a leading manufacturer of LED outdoor lighting and a leading controls manufacturer to demonstrate a sensor-controlled, adaptable LED lighting system in the parking lots for municipal, retail, or similar parking lot.

Working with project partners from the Seattle Lighting Design Laboratory, the Lighting Research Center (LRC) will identify a suitable outdoor lighting installation in a parking lot and conduct evaluations of energy and power use, visual responses of people in and approaching the outdoor location, and subjective ratings of safety and personal security while viewing and occupying the location. The design of the lighting installation will utilize published research on the spectral sensitivity of the human visual system for scene brightness perception and on the relationships between scene brightness and perception of safety and security previously published by the LRC project team. The proposed project will consist of a full-scale outdoor lighting demonstration at a parking lot facility within BPA service territory. The demonstration will be based on a proposed specification method for maximizing perceptions of safety and security of occupants, taking advantage of the differential spectral (color) sensitivity of the human visual system for brightness perception at nighttime light levels. Sensations of brightness are in turn strongly related to perceptions of personal safety and security in outdoor locations. It is anticipated that using white light sources such as a lighting emitting diode (LED) illumination in place of conventional high pressure sodium (HPS) illumination energy savings of 40-50% will be possible while maintaining perceptions of brightness, safety, and security.

This project seeks to develop operational procedures and proper system sizing guidelines for the inclusion of thermal storage in biomass-fired steam generation. The Town of Chester will design, install, commission, and evaluate a high-efficiency, low-emission pellet-fired steam boiler integrated with a wet steam accumulator for thermal storage. The system will be installed in the Town of Chester municipal building in Chestertown, NY, a 36,000 sq. ft. brick building originally fitted with a steam heating system. The existing boiler room has two oil-fired steam boilers, one currently out-of-service, which will be replaced by the proposed biomass-fired steam boiler. The project will demonstrate, measure, and evaluate the benefits of complete system integration, including a properly sized biomass-fired boiler, adequate thermal storage, building energy management and controls, and an existing oil-fired boiler

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.

The University of Maryland will develop the next generation air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers using non-round tubes that are 25% smaller, 25% lighter and 30% reduced charge than state-of-the-art heat exchangers.

Advanced Climate Technologies (ACT) is a manufacturer of fully automatic, high-efficiency, low-emission biomass-fired boilers, interested in expanding their manufacturing facility in Niskayuna, NY to include an automated manufacturing system. This project involves the design, purchase, installation, and commissioning of the automated manufacturing system. The automated manufacturing system will allow ACT to process raw steel into prepared components. This will include a state-of-the art multi-tiered automated process that will allow for the cutting, drilling, and nesting of ASME steel plate used for the vessel and component parts of the boiler. By increasing their manufacturing capabilities, the ACT will bring processes in-house that have thus far been subcontracted. This project will eliminate certain inefficiencies in the manufacturing value chain and reduce total manufacturing time for product improvement, cost, and waste. The cost savings will be passed to consumers, directly benefiting the biomass heating market and customers in NY.

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic will create a prototype office desktop lighting control. The device will be a combination of a motion sensor, photosensor, manual dimmer or switch, and wireless transmitter. It will sit either directly on a desk surface or be mounted to the top of a computer monitor, and will control the lighting in private or open offices. It will be paired with a receiver that will control the luminaire(s) that are nearby.

An advanced thermal post-packaging food preservation technology for controlling pathogens called "Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization" (MATS) has been developed by a team led by Washington State University (WSU) (http://www.microwaveheating.wsu.edu/). MATS technology has the potential for replacing conventional thermal retort ("canning") food preservation methodologies due to its greatly reduced processing time. Typical MATS processes cut conventional canning processing time by 80%, with increased energy efficiency and superior finished product characteristics like improved nutrient retention and substantially increased food quality.

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