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DOE Invests $9M in Building Envelope

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

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An energy-efficient roof sandwich system reported to slash construction costs by 25 percent is among six cutting-edge projects recently awarded $9 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The projects feature an array of building-envelope technologies, including high-efficiency, high-performance windows and roofs, and heating and cooling equipment, according to the department.

Building technologies

The $9 million investment will help strengthen U.S. manufacturing leadership in building technologies that are in global demand, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

In a typical residential or commercial building, about 42 percent of energy is lost through doors, roofs, attics, walls, floors and foundations, the DOE said.

“The projects … will help bring new, affordable technologies to market that address these opportunities for improved building performance and cost savings,” the department added.

Focus on Building Envelope

The DOE said about $3 million will be invested in two projects that focus on building-envelope materials.

Researchers at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID, will use a model home to design and demonstrate a sandwich roof system that uses foam material to increase building thermal efficiency, according to project details.

The innovated system will also help reduce construction costs by 25 percent, the DOE said.

The other project investment was made in the development of highly-insulated window systems designed to use automated shading to capture or repel heat depending on the season.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will receive up to $1.5 million from the DOE for the window advancement research.

HVAC Systems Investment

The remaining $6.5 million will be invested in four projects to develop highly-efficient, cost-effective heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, DOE said.

St. Louis, MO-based Unico Inc. will receive $2 million to develop a cold-climate heat pump with a variable speed compressor that will maintain capacity and efficiency even at very low temperatures, the department noted.

Moreover, another project—awarded to United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford, CT—focuses on designing and building a high-performance, cold-climate commercial heat pump system.

The system will reduce annual electricity use for commercial building space heating in cold climates by at least 25 percent, according to project details.


Tagged categories: Air barriers; Building envelope; Insulation; Roof insulation; U.S. Department of Energy

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