Article Date: 08/23/2013

New Funding Expected to Make Buildings More Energy Efficient

By Steve Rizer


Which projects has the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) most recently decided to support to make buildings more energy efficient through innovative technologies and techniques? Three of the 18 projects involve open-source energy-efficiency software, nine focus on heating, cooling, and insulation technologies, and six involve conserving energy at small commercial buildings.


DOE is awarding $5 million for three projects 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 conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, commercial building owners could save an average of 38 percent on heating and cooling bills by installing energy-control systems. Here are the awards:


Building Energy Management Open Source Software Development, $1.92 million (no cost share) -- Virginia Tech - Advanced Research Institute in Blacksburg, Va., will develop a web-based building energy management software platform for managing electrical equipment in small- and medium-sized buildings. The software will be able to control HVAC, lighting, and appliances or equipment.


An Extensible Sensing and Control Platform for Building Energy Management Applicants/Principal Investigators, $1.50 million ($227,662 cost share) -- Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in partnership with Research and Technology Center, Robert Bosch LLC, will develop an integrated software platform that enables comprehensive real-time command and control of indoor environments. Scaife Hall, a medium-sized building on campus, will be used as a “living lab for real-world energy management applications.”


Software-Defined Solutions for Managing Energy Use in Small- to Medium-Sized Commercial Buildings, $2 million ($19,400 cost share) -- Regents of California - California Institute for Energy and Environment in Berkeley is partnering with Building Robotics, University of California - Davis, and University of California - Berkeley to develop a software platform, controllers, user interfaces, and software tools for lighting, thermostat, and information technology equipment. The software will be open and provide a modular framework for hardware and software vendors to add applications or devices.


The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes summaries of 15 additional projects receiving awards and the transcript of ConstructionPro Week's interview with two DOE officials about the projects. To sign up for a membership, click here.



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