The 58 selected projects could help increase energy efficiency in buildings and make them more cost-effective.

They will also support programs to train workers to service and operate new and existing buildings, to develop and deploy best practices resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and to establish a green workforce with technical expertise to reduce energy costs for consumers.

“These projects will help the United States lead the world in advancing energy-efficient technologies,” says Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

“Energy efficient commercial buildings will help our country cut its carbon emissions and energy costs while the training programs will upgrade the skills of the current workforce and attract the next generation to careers in the emerging clean energy economy.”

The US’ 114 million households and more than 74 million ft2 of commercial floor space account for approximately 40% of US primary energy consumption.

Advanced Energy Efficient Building Technology Projects:

The 45 awards for advanced energy efficient building technology projects will receive over US$68.4m and will be leveraged with more than US$31.4m in funding from private industry, for a total project value of nearly US$100m.

Projects have been selected in the following five areas:
  • Advanced Building Control Strategies, Communications, and Information Technologies for Net-Zero Energy Buildings (US$22,497,833 total Federal share) - 12 projects will focus on transforming the design, operation, and maintenance of both new and existing buildings;
  • Analysis, Design, and Technical Tools (US$5,969,682 total Federal share) - five projects will focus on improving the capability to simulate complex interactions between building elements, including climate, envelope heat and moisture transfer, internal heat gains, lighting power, HVAC equipment, controls, thermal and visual comfort, and energy costs;
  • Building Envelope and Windows (US$22,807,255 total Federal share) - 14 projects will focus on improving the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings through technology advances in windows and envelope components, which are necessary to achieve significant energy savings and performance;
  • Residential and Commercial Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Crosscutting Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Research (US$11,144,592 total Federal share) -10 projects will focus on dramatically increasing the efficiency of HVAC systems and pursuing technologies that apply to both air conditioning and refrigeration; and
  • Water Heating, Residential, and Commercial Appliances and Miscellaneous Electric Loads (US$6,033,246 total Federal share) - four projects will focus on increasing the efficiency of water heating equipment and reducing miscellaneous electric loads.

Training Program Development for Commercial Buildings Efficiency Experts

To achieve the full potential of energy efficient – and eventually net-zero energy – buildings, the USA needs commercial building experts who know how to properly run and tune building heating and cooling systems, DoE says. The combination of efficient operations and advanced design will improve the internal building environment, including energy use, comfort, safety, and environmental impact.

The 13 projects selected to receive up to US$7.6m to develop training programs for commercial building equipment technicians, building operators, and energy commissioning agents and auditors will leverage nearly US$1.5m in private industry cost share, for a total project value of nearly US$9.1m.

The training projects selected include:
  • Four selections within Building Equipment Technicians;
  • Four selections within Building Operators; and
  • Five selections within Building Energy Commissioning Agents/Auditors.