Energy Department Invests $4 Million to Strengthen
Building America Industry Partnerships for High
Performance Housing Innovation.
As part of the administration's effort to cut energy
waste in the nation's buildings and double energy
productivity by 2030, the Energy Department today
announced $4 million to develop and demonstrate new
energy efficiency solutions for the nation's homes.
The Energy Department's Building America program
develops cutting-edge innovations and resources with
industry partners to spur the residential buildings
market to adopt energy efficiency measures that will
provide 50% savings in new homes by 2025 and 40% savings
in existing homes by 2030.
A major focus of the work is home heating and cooling.
Typically, heating and cooling account for 40% of a
home's energy consumption, the largest single energy use
and more than water heating, refrigeration, and lighting
combined. In 2014, U.S. homeowners spent $70 billion to
heat their homes and $24 billion to cool them. Improving
the energy efficiency of home heating and cooling
systems and building envelopes (roof, walls, and
windows) could reduce energy consumption for heating and
cooling by as much as 70%.
For these Building America projects, teams will focus on
developing and implementing solutions to three
inter‐related core technical challenges: high
performance building envelope assemblies and systems;
optimal comfort systems for heating, cooling, air
distribution, and humidity control; and high performance
ventilation systems and indoor air quality strategies.
The Energy Department will fund projects that develop
and demonstrate integrated solutions to any or all of
these core technical challenges and primarily focus on
solutions for the hot/humid, mixed humid, and cold
climate zones. Together these climate zones cover most
of the country, but have very different requirements.
These projects will demonstrate techniques that address
these requirements, while promoting energy efficiency at
a reasonable cost and preserving indoor air quality.
•Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc. (HIRL) was
selected to conduct three projects focused on advancing
solutions for moisture-managed, high performance
envelope systems in all three climate zones.
•HIRL will develop wall system design guidance, as well
as improve methods for assessing and improving moisture
durability of envelope assembly systems.
•HIRL will also study an innovative approach to roof
insulation retrofits, in which nailbase insulated panels
are installed over the roof deck before re-roofing.
These panels can be installed in one step and result in
semi-conditioned attics that can reduce HVAC energy use
by at least 10%.
•HIRL will also conduct additional research into
extended plate and beam (EP&B) wall systems, which were
initially developed in a previous Building America
project. EP&B offers a simplified method for
incorporating 2 inches of continuous rigid insulation
into a traditional 2-by-4 framed wall assembly. The EP&B
wall system is based on the construction technique most
commonly used by builders, which increases its chances
for market adoption.
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