The Energy Department has just announced a $14 million investment to “dramatically” increase the energy efficiency of U.S. homes and buildings.
The investment is part of the Administration’s effort to cut energy waste and double energy production by 2030.
“The small-medium commercial sector and homebuilding industry are critical to the American economy, but under-resourced when it comes to energy efficiency,” says Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency.
“These efficiency solutions will allow us to build better, healthier homes and significantly improve our nation’s existing building stock, cutting energy bills for American consumers and businesses.”
As part of this investment, the Energy Department will make eight awards for up to $5.5 million for industry partners to create healthier, more comfortable homes that will save homeowners money on their utility bills.
This will be accomplished through a partnership with its Building America program. Together, they will pilot several innovative approaches: low-cost construction methods; highly-efficient integrated heating, cooling and ventilation systems; indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions for healthier homes; and software that will remotely identify homes that can benefit most from energy efficiency retrofits. They will also demonstrate zero energy-ready homes for the affordable housing market.
A major focus of the Building America program is cutting a home’s heating and cooling costs. In 2014, U.S. homeowners spent approximately $70 billion to heat their homes and $24 billion to cool them.
Projects Selected for Funding:
- University of Minnesota: Twin Cities (Minneapolis) will demonstrate 15 zero energy-ready affordable homes with an innovative solid panel wall system that is more durable, 50 percent more energy efficient and costs less to build than standard framing.
- Newport Partners (Davidsonville, Maryland) will develop a quiet “smart” range hood that is five times more efficient than today’s Energy Star models, captures nearly 100 percent of cooking pollutants and is cost competitive with other kitchen range hoods currently on the market.
- Building Science Corporation (Westford, Massachusetts) will study construction details for insulated roof assemblies that may substantially reduce attic condensation risk and construction costs, potentially reducing HVAC energy use by 10 percent or more in houses with HVAC and duct systems in the attic.
- Fraunhofer USA, Inc. (Boston) will develop a software tool that automatically and remotely analyzes smart thermostat and interval meter data to identify household-specific retrofit opportunities that reduce heating energy consumption, potentially improving program effectiveness by 50 percent or more.
- Steven Winter Associates, Inc. (Washington, DC) will demonstrate a ventilation integrated high-efficiency heat pump system that will provide balanced, distributed ventilation with heat recovery, reduce HVAC energy use by 400-800 kilowatts annually, and cost $1,000-$2,000 less than separate ducted systems.
- Center for Energy and Environment (Minneapolis) will evaluate an envelope air sealing method that uses aerosol sealant and simultaneously measures, locates, and seals leaks, significantly improving quality control and reducing labor costs.
- Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. (Upper Marlboro, Maryland) will conduct comprehensive structural testing of window installation techniques for walls with continuous insulation to inform industry guidance, energy codes, and enable wider adoption of this highly-effective insulation solution.
- Southface Energy Institute (Atlanta) will establish an IAQ scoring system for homes and assess the ability of a smart energy recovery ventilator to improve IAQ and comfort, while reducing the energy required for ventilation and dehumidification by 50 percent.
For more great content, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters