DOE Projects Focus on Building Science


Building envelope and ventilation technologies are at the center of five new U.S. Department of Energy funded projects in development.

Over the past year, DOE’s Building America program has provided funding to research teams who will work with industry partners to design, test, upgrade, and build technologies and high-performance homes using strategies that significantly cut energy use, the DOE announced Thursday (Nov. 12).

The team members are experts in the field of residential building science and have access to world-class facilities, partners and key personnel, DOE relates. The projects are further supported by DOE national laboratories, which offer technical and scientific expertise for building technologies and improved building practices.

The DOE’s descriptions of the teams are listed below. Additional information about the teams, the research and industry partners involved may be obtained by clicking on the team name.

5 Project Teams

University of Central Florida/Florida Solar Energy Center: This team will work directly with leading production builders and product manufacturers to enable 50 percent whole-house energy savings compared with houses built to code through:

  • Demonstrating and validating high efficiency, variable capacity, ducted and ductless space conditioning systems with optimized comfort distribution and latent (i.e., humidity) control; and
  • Testing a new "smart" ventilation system innovation aimed at saving space conditioning energy use while improving comfort, moisture, and peak load impacts.

The Levy Partnership Inc.: This team will demonstrate the use of highly insulated building envelopes and simplified, high-efficiency HVAC systems—which can routinely achieve 50 percent energy savings over 2009 International Energy Code Commission requirements—in homes in two of the largest affordable housing market segments, manufactured housing and Habitat for Humanity.

IBACOS: This team will investigate a new “plug and play” duct system—a simplified air delivery system for residential HVAC systems that solves air distribution and comfort delivery issues, and is especially pertinent to low-load production-built homes. The project will demonstrate the system’s predictable performance and advantages over traditional residential duct systems in the areas of comfort performance, integration within the conditioned space of the house, constructability, cost and value.

Gas Technology Institute: This team will work on developing a systems approach for managing air sealing, ventilation, and air distribution during weatherization and home performance improvement projects. As part of this approach, the project will research and develop an air flow control system that is anticipated to produce ventilation energy savings of up to 30 percent.

Home Innovation Research Labs: This team has three projects:

  • Moisture Performance of High-R Wall Systems: This project will develop wall system design guidance for builders. It will also improve methods for assessing and improving moisture durability of envelope assembly systems.
  • Attic Retrofits Using Nail-Base Insulated Panels: This project will study an innovative approach to roof insulation retrofits in which nail-base insulated panels are installed over the roof deck before re-roofing, which can reduce HVAC energy use by at least 10 percent.
  • Extended Plate and Beam (EP&B) Wall System: This project will conduct research into extended plate and beam wall systems, which were initially developed by another Building America project, in order to demonstrate, develop and disseminate the technology.

The Building America research teams are selected through a competitive process initiated by a funding opportunity announcement.


Tagged categories: Building envelope; Building Envelope; Building science; Energy codes; Energy efficiency; Insulation; North America; Research and development; Retrofits; U.S. Department of Energy

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