Dow, JCI, Philips and More Share $76M in Green Building Stimulus Funds

Dow, JCI, Philips and More Share $76M in Green Building Stimulus Funds

The U.S. Department of Energy is awarding more than $76 million in Recovery Act funds to 58 projects that will develop advanced energy efficiency technology for buildings and training programs for commercial building operators, technicians and energy auditors.

Work by Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning Corporation, General Electric, Honeywell International Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., Philips Electronics North America Corporation, SAGE Electrochromics Inc., Siemens Corporate Research, 3M Company and the University of California at Berkeley are among the projects selected for funding.

"These projects will help the United States lead the world in advancing energy efficient technologies," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said last week in announcing the awards. "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."

Buildings in the U.S. -- some 114 million households and more than 74 billion square feet of commercial floor space -- consume about 40 percent of the energy used in the country. Buildings also are responsible for 39 percent of carbon dioxide, 18 percent of nitrogen oxide and 55 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions. 

The $76 million in federal money for green building technology will be leveraged with about $33 million in private funds for a total project value of almost $110 million. 

More than two-thirds of the federal funding -- $68.4 million -- went to 45 projects for development of advanced energy efficiency building technology in five key areas: 

  • Net-Zero Energy Buildings - 12 projects share almost $22.5 million for development of advanced building control strategies, communications and information technologies that will help enable new and existing buildings to be net-zero energy structures -- buildings that consume only as much energy as they generate.
  • Analysis, Design and Technical Tools - Five projects totaling almost $6 million focus on the complex interactions among building elements such as 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 - 14 projects receiving $22.8 million are aimed at improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential structures with advanced window and envelope components. As much as half the energy consumed by the building envelope is lost through the walls, roofs and foundations.
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning and Crosscutting Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Research - 10 projects awarded $11.1 million are to sharply increase the efficiency of HVAC systems for commercial and residential use and develop technology that applies to air conditioning and refrigeration.
  • Water Heating, Appliances and Miscellaneous Electric Loads - Four projects receiving about $6 million are to increase efficiency of water heating equipment and reduce various electric loads.

The remaining 13 projects will share about $7.6 million in federal funds to develop training programs for commercial building equipment technicians, building operators, and energy commissioning agents and auditors.

The funding recipients and their projects include: 

  • Dow Chemical Company received $2.95 million for development of advanced insulation for high-performance, cost-effective, wall, roof and foundation systems. 

  • Dow Corning Corporation received $1.2 million for support of high energy efficient exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) through development of  an improved form of insulated cladding material to help commercial buildings become net-zero energy structures. 

  • General Electric Global Research received $1.47 million for a project involving George Washington University and GE Appliances to develop new magnetic refrigerant materials. The materials are expected to increase the efficiency of residential refrigeration technology by as much as 30 percent.

  • Honeywell International Inc. received $1.8 million to create a system that will dynamically schedule space conditioning, water heaters and other major appliances as well as monitor and analyze energy consumption and recommend further energy saving actions in homes. 

  • Johnson Controls Inc. received $4 million -- $2 million for each of two projects. The first involves development of an integrated building management system in the form of an open integration framework that allows multivendor systems to interoperate seamlessly using Internet protocols. The company will create a platform for implementing new integrated control strategies and to enable additional enterprise control applications such as demand response.

    In the second project, Johnson Controls wil research develop and test an integrated predictive demand response controller -- a communications interface that would receive real-time pricing signals from utilities or power retailers. The technology would be developed using industry standard open protocols and emerging National Institute of Standards and Technology standards. 

  • Philips Electronics North America Corporation received almost $2.2 million to help produce energy efficient and comfortable buildings through multivariate integrated control (ECoMIC). The goal is to reduce energy consumption in retrofit and new commercial buildings by through integrated energy optimization control systems for electric lighting, daylight and local HVAC. In a recent webinar with GreenBiz.com, Steve McGuire of Philips Lighting spoke of multiplying energy savings through building retrofits and designs that take into account how lighting, daylight, HVAC and other elements interact with each other. 

  • SAGE Electrochromics Inc. received $1.6 million for its work improving the energy performance of electrochromatic glazing and lowering the price to achieve greater market penetration. The company's energy-saving dynamic SageGlass electronically tints and clears to manage sunlight and heat gain. 

  • Siemens Corporate Research received $1.4 million to develop an advanced, integrated control for HVAC and window/blind operation that will achieve 40 percent energy savings compare to standard energy use. 

  • 3M Company received $1.9 million to develop a clear and colorless polymeric multilayer infrared reflecting film that reflects 90-95 percent of the infrared energy.

  • University of California at Berkeley received almost $2 million to develop and test a distributed intelligent automated demand response (DIADR) building management system that will reduce energy demand by 30 percent without impairing the comfort, productivity and health of building occupants.

A full list of the funded projects is available (pdf) from the Department of Energy. 

Image courtesy of SAGE Electrochromics Inc. -- SageGlass skylights on a building in Greenwich, Conn.