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DOE Selects Seven State and Local Governments to Establish “Proving Grounds” for Advanced Building Technologies

January 23, 2021

Department of Energy imageThe U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) selected two state energy offices, four local governments, and a State Judicial Council to install promising building technologies and systems in commercial and multifamily buildings that DOE expects to significantly improve energy efficiency, demand flexibility, and building-to-grid capabilities. DOE has awarded $6 million through the Building Technologies Proving Ground – Public Sector Field Validation Funding Opportunity to governments in California, Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. To learn more about how field-validation efforts like these advance DOE’s priorities, read this article.

DOE’s Building Technologies Office and the Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office’s State Energy Program will fund and administer these seven competitively selected projects:

  • Austin Energy will partner with ZOME, Resideo, and the New Buildings Institute (M&V) to install and evaluate the performance of a custom mesh network of thermostats, HVAC systems, and water heater controls with two-way communication and remote-access capabilities in 6-7 multifamily properties and 1,400 tenant units, half or more being affordable rent or low-income properties. These technologies will allow these buildings to shift their energy loads with an affordable and scalable approach to enhance their demand flexibility. If these technologies work as planned, residents could save $60 to $120 per year on their energy bills.
  • Dane County, Wisconsin will partner with Slipstream to retrofit buildings with triple-paned windows, cost-effective LED lighting systems coupled with networked lighting controls and integrated into the building automation system. This project will demonstrate whole-building energy savings resulting from integrated HVAC and lighting systems that save 10% and 60%, respectively, while providing key grid services simultaneously.
  • The Judicial Council of California, in partnership with AECOM, Beyond Efficiency Inc., Enovity and others, will test the capabilities of commercial heat pump water heaters with bi-directional controls to minimize peak load in twenty buildings. The project will validate a 25% reduction in water heating energy cost and track and reduce building carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.
  • The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources will partner with National Grid, and Axiom Cloud Inc. to test how an artificial intelligence software platform can provide demand response in 25 grocery stores by controlling refrigeration loads. The project seeks to validate 15-50 kilowatts of flexible load, providing crucial energy cost savings for an industry operating on tight profit margins.
  • South El Monte, California, in partnership with Passive Logic and The Energy Coalition, will install an innovative technology package into three public facilities including South El Monte city hall. The package includes autonomous building controls for HVAC and energy-efficiency upgrades for lighting and water heaters, and when installed, it will provide commercial and multifamily buildings with 10% to 30% energy savings across the whole building.
  • Sumner County, Kansas will partner with the City of Wellington, Insolcorp LLC, the University of Kansas Center for Research Inc. and others to test passive thermal energy storage in roof and ceiling tiles in six public sector buildings. The project will validate a 20% reduction in cooling, heating, and electric demand.
  • The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will partner with Stone Mountain, the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council to validate a gas absorption hot water heat pump technology for a commercial setting.

These seven projects selected from regions across the country aim to de-risk and drive innovation through the integration of new technologies and operational improvements under dynamic conditions “in the field,” while fostering collaboration among interdisciplinary teams. To learn more about the Proving Ground FOA and selections, click here.