Energy Department Invests $11 Million to Save on Heating, Cooling and Lighting

Originally published: 09.11.13 by HVACR Business Staff


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Energy Department announced 12 projects to develop innovative heating, cooling and insulation technologies as well as open source energy efficiency software to help homes and commercial buildings save energy and money. These projects will receive an approximately $11 million Energy Department investment, matched by about $1 million in private sector funding.

“Energy efficient technologies – from improved heating and cooling systems to better windows and lighting – provide one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save consumers money while curbing greenhouse gas pollution,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “User-friendly tools that quickly and cheaply analyze energy use will also help businesses and homeowners make better use of those technologies to save energy and lower their utility bills.” 

Commercial and residential buildings use nearly 40 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States each year and produce more than 40 percent of the nation’s carbon pollution. According to the Energy Information Administration, about 48 percent of energy consumption in U.S. homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 53 percent in 1993. While better insulation and more efficient windows and equipment helped precipitate this decline, the projects announced today are focused on furthering these savings.

Next Generation Energy Efficient Buildings Technologies

The Energy Department announced about $6 million to nine projects that will develop new energy efficient building technologies, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and building insulation. The projects will also help curb emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – potent greenhouse gases primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning. In the United States, emissions of HFCs are expected to nearly triple by 2030, and double from current levels of 1.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to 3 percent by 2020.

Open Source Energy Efficiency Software

The Energy Department also announced up to $5 million to three projects – led by the University of California, Virginia Tech and Carnegie Mellon University -- to develop open source software that helps building owners and operators measure, monitor and adjust lighting, HVAC and water heating energy use to save energy without compromising performance. According to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, commercial building owners could save an average 38 percent on heating and cooling bills by installing energy control systems..

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