DOE Offers $7.75M for R&D on HVAC Technologies that Save Energy

Oct. 11, 2014
The US DOE is offering $7.75M for R&D into HVAC technologies that save energy.

The U.S. Departent of Energy is offering $7.75 million for research and development of next generation HVAC technologies, under a solicitation issued Ocober 10.

Concept papers are due November 10; final applications are due December 12.  EERE expects to notify winners March 18.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) plans to issue six awards of between $500,000 and $1.5 million under cost-share agreements.

EERE seeks research projects for regionally targeted HVAC with the potential to significantly cut energy use in new and existing buildings. The program also focuses on innovative ways to replace current vapor compression HVAC technologies that use environmentally harmful refrigerants.

The grant program is part of a push by the Obama administration to green U.S. buildings, which accounted for $416 billion in energy spending in 2012. This year buildings are expected to consume 70 percent of electricity and 31 percent of natural gas produced in the U.S. As a result, buildings are responsible for 38 percent of the energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the US.

HVAC systems account for the largest proportion of energy used in buildings. They consume almost 14 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of primary energy annually—or nearly 30 percent of all energy used in commercial and residential buildings.  Non-vapor-compression HVAC technologies may use 40 percent less energy than current technologies.

The funds are being offered through the Emerging Technologies Program of the Building Technologies Office (BTO), which supports applied R&D on building energy consumption.  By 2020, BTO aims to develop technologies that cut HVAC energy use 10 percent, energy use for water heating 20 percent, and energy use for appliances 15 percent. The program has even more aggressive savings targets for 2030.

The RFP seeks savings as measured by the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). It also is interested in research to improve partial load efficiency — since HVAC systems operate at partial load most of the time.

EERE seeks proposals from businesses, universities, non-profits, and national laboratories.  EERE will hold informational webinars on the solicitation October 15 and December 1. More information on the HVAC technologies solicitation is available here.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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