Article Date: 03/14/2014


Expect an Increased Emphasis on Non-Vapor Compression Technologies if DOE’s Proposed Buildings Budget for FY’15 Gets Approved


By Steve Rizer

 

A substantial chunk of the increase in funding that President Obama has requested for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Program (BTP) would go toward non-vapor compression technologies -- technologies that DOE believes could someday “provide up to 50 percent reductions in energy consumption.”

 

The fiscal 2015 federal budget that Obama proposed last week would fund BTP at $211.7 million, $33.832 million above the FY’14 enacted level for the program. More than two-thirds of that increase ($23.138 million) would be set aside for the “Emerging Technologies” subprogram within BTP, according to ConstructionPro Week’s analysis of the budget request. Increased funding for that subprogram would, in DOE’s words, “focus on non-vapor compression technologies capable of being used in heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning applications” via the Future of Air Conditioning Technologies activity.

 

Emerging Technologies, if funded at the proposed level of $79 million in FY’15, also would focus additional investments in “transactive controls and grid integration to optimize energy performance and comfort, as well as support energy-related transaction outside of the building envelope,” DOE stated.

 

Of BTP’s five other subprograms, only “Equipment and Building Standards” would receive more than a $1.7-million increase over the FY’14 enacted level. Funded at a requested $69 million in FY’15, this subprogram would support standards and test-procedure activities that contribute to the reduction of building source energy use and carbon pollution. “There will be an increased emphasis on building code compliance initiatives” within this subprogram, DOE predicted. The enacted level for Equipment and Building Standards totaled $55.84 million in FY’14.

 

BTP’s “National Renewable Energy Laboratory Site-Wide Facility Support” subprogram would receive $2.7 million in FY’15, an increase of $1.7 million over the FY’14 enacted level. Also getting a funding boost would be the “Penn State University Consortium for Building Energy Innovation” subprogram, from the FY’14 enacted level of $9.994 million to an even $10 million in FY’15.  

 

Two BTP subprograms would endure funding cuts under Obama’s spending plan. “Commercial Building Integration," funded at $28 million in FY’15, would have $2.782 million less to work with than in FY'14. Funding for the “Residential Buildings Integration” subprogram would drop from the enacted level of $24.39 million in FY’14 to $23 million in FY’15 under the president's proposal.

 

The ConstructionPro Network version of this article includes coverage of the FY'15 budget request for DOE's programs for advanced manufacturing and federal energy management.

 



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