The Department of Energy announced $11 million in funding for 12 projects that will develop innovative heating, insulation, cooling and open source energy efficiency software, as part of President Obama’s plans to reduce energy bills for businesses and homes.
Nine projects focused on energy efficient building technologies will get $6 million, while three open source software projects that helps building owners and operators monitor, measure and control their energy usage will get $5 million.
Among the energy efficiency projects, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will get $750,000 to develop affordable insulation plastic film for large windows. The transparent film will easily fit on top of the window glass and uses material familiar to the construction industry, the DOE says, helping to reduce manufacturing and supply chain costs. Another $750,000 will go to Sandia National Laboratories and United Technologies Research Center, to demonstrate a rotating heat exchanger technology for residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The DOE says the heat pump will improve HVAC system cycle efficiency and increase the use of heat pumps in colder climates.
A similar amount will be awarded jointly to Thermolift, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Stony Brook University and National Grid, to commercialize a natural gas heat pump to provide heating, cooling and hot water for homes and commercial buildings. The all-in-one unit will not use harmful hydrofluorocarbons and refrigerants and could triple space heating efficiency.
Virginia Tech, Carnegie Mellon and the University of California Regents will share the $5 million for projects focused on easy to use tools for energy control systems.
In June, President Obama introduced his new energy plan, in which one of the items was a better building challenge, focused on helping commercial and residential buildings becoming at least 20 percent more efficiency by 2020.