Feds Invest $19M in Buildings


The U.S. Department of Energy has announced a $19 million investment in energy efficiency for commercial and residential buildings, money that will fund building envelope research and development in addition to sensors, controls and other technologies.

The DOE investment will fund 18 specific research projects, undertaken by entities including universities, Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, and a handful of private companies. It is part of a 15-year plan to reduce energy use in the buildings sector in the United States.

Building Envelope Projects

Two building envelope projects at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have gotten the green light in this round of DOE funding.

LBNL’s THERM computer software, used for modeling heat transfer in buildings, will get a boost; according to the DOE, the new funding will assist in the addition of moisture-transfer modeling capabilities to the program, which creates two-dimensional models of thermal conductivity in buildings.

Also at LBNL, new DOE money will fund a project to develop new, more efficient and affordable insulation, to help make retrofitting buildings less taxing.

Startup Glint Photonics will receive funding to develop a roof-mounted “self-tracking solar concentrator” that redirects light to the building interior, adjusting constantly to the position of the sun and reducing the need for electric lighting.

Also in the building envelope category, researchers at Iowa State University will work on a diagnostic system that uses lasers and infrared light to determine where heat is escaping from a building.

Other Research

Eight different projects at various universities and research labs will be funded with the goal of improving sensor and control technology, so that building management systems can track factors like indoor and outdoor temperature and concentration of building occupants, and adjust HVAC and other systems accordingly.

Glint Photonics plan rendering
Glint Photonics

Startup Glint Photonics will be funded in its work developing a roof-mounted “self-tracking solar concentrator” that redirects light to the building interior.

Five projects receiving funding deal directly with HVAC systems, improving their efficiency and reducing their tendency to emit greenhouse gases. Moreover, the University of Miami will receive funding to combine several energy modeling packages into one system to help with the design of data centers and large computer rooms, a growing consumer of energy.

“Improving the efficiency of our nation’s buildings presents one of our best opportunities for cutting Americans’ energy bills and slashing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “These innovative technologies will make our buildings smarter, healthier, and more efficient, driving us toward our goal of reducing the energy use intensity of the U.S. buildings sector by 30 percent by 2030.”


Tagged categories: Building envelope; Building Envelope; Energy efficiency; Greenhouse gas; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; North America; Research and development; U.S. Department of Energy

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