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DOE Invests $3.7 Million to Improve Efficiency of Nation's Homes

Projects Will Help Drive Innovation in Building Science for High Performance Building Envelope, Comfort, and Indoor Air Quality Systems, and Will Collect Indoor Air Quality Data in Real World Homes.

As a part of the Administration’s efforts to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings, the Energy Department today announced up to $3.7 million to study and validate new energy efficiency solutions for the nation's homes. These projects will lead to improved home energy efficiency and smarter home operation for millions of American families, saving money on their energy bills while improving health and comfort.

The selected projects will accelerate energy performance improvements in existing and new residential buildings using an integrated building systems approach to achieve peak energy performance. These awards build on work begun in the 2015 and 2016 Building America FOAs, and are focused primarily on addressing remaining gaps and objectives in the Building America Research to Market Plan. This work will contribute to achieving the Residential Building Integration program’s goals of reducing the energy use intensity of new homes by at least 60% and existing homes by at least 40%, relative to the 2010 average for homes in each major U.S. climate.

“The Building America program brings together leading building science experts and industry partners to tackle major technical challenges in real homes. These innovative projects will advance our understanding of building performance, help U.S. industry innovate, and provide the public with reliable, unbiased technical information on home innovations,” said David Nemtzow, director of the Building Technologies Office.   

These five new Building America project teams will focus on developing and implementing solutions to three interrelated core technical challenges: high-performance building envelope assemblies and systems; optimal comfort systems for heating, cooling, air distribution, and humidity control; and high-performance ventilation systems and indoor air quality strategies. Projects selected for funding include:

  • Newport Partners: Development of Laboratory Test Methods for Low-Cost Indoor Air Quality Sensors
  • Building Envelope Materials: Validation Study of Experimental Insulating and Air-Sealing Technology for Enclosed Roof Cavities
  • University of Central Florida: Integrated HVAC Control Methods for Supplemental High Efficiency Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Existing Homes
  • Home Innovation Research Labs Inc.: Advanced HVAC Equipment Design Strategies for Optimal Efficiency and Humidity Control
  • Rocky Mountain Institute: Experimental Envelope Fabrication Process for Integrated Zero Energy Ready Multifamily Renovations

Building America is also funding two projects to conduct baseline studies to better characterize indoor air quality of new U.S. homes. Projects selected for funding include:

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Baseline Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Field Study in Occupied New U.S. Homes: Cold and Marine Climates
  • University of Central Florida: Baseline Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Field Study in Occupied New U.S. Homes: Hot-Humid and Mixed-Humid Climates

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