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About Emerging Technologies

The Emerging Technologies (ET) Program of the Building Technologies Office (BTO) supports applied research and development (R&D) for technologies, systems, and models that contribute to building energy consumption. BTO’s goal is to reduce the energy use intensity of the U.S. buildings sector by 30% by 2030, relative to 2010. The ET Program is helping to meet this goal by enabling cost-effective, energy-efficient technologies to be developed and introduced into the marketplace. The Building Technologies Office’s Multi-Year Program Plan for Fiscal Years 2016-2020 provides a detailed roadmap of our strategies for meeting this goal.

The ET Program provides R&D support in five core areas: Solid-State Lighting, Heating, Ventilation, & Air-Conditioning (HVAC; includes water heating and appliances), Sensors & Controls (includes transactive controls), Windows & Envelope, and Modeling & Tools. The majority of ET funding is distributed competitively through solicitations (i.e., Funding Opportunity Announcements, or FOAs), which in general are open to applications from large industry, small businesses, academia, the national labs, and other entities.


In 2010, U.S. residential and commercial building energy expenditures totaled $431.1 billion, of which $301.6 billion was spent on electricity, and the remainder on natural gas and petroleum-based products (Buildings Energy Data Book).  Total building energy expenditures are estimated to grow to $474.9 billion (in 2010 $) by the year 2030.  Achieving BTO's goal of a 50% reduction in primary energy consumption by 2030 could lead to nationwide annual energy savings of approximately $128 billion assuming a primary energy use multiplier of 3 for electricity. This equates to energy savings per capita of ˜ $350/year, using the U.S. Census Bureau estimate of the 2030 population.


  • Increased lighting efficacy of “warm white light” solid-state lighting in a lab device from 133 in FY12 to 148 lm/W (> 10% and on-target for 100% improvement by 2025). Also, lowered the cost of LED package devices to 111 lm/$ (15% less than the previous year).

  • Commercialization of the Trilogy Ground-Source Integrated Heat Pump, which received the  2013 AHR Expo Innovation Award (AHR = Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating), the 2013 R&D 100 Award, and the 2014 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.  This unit offers 55% to 65% energy savings compared to a minimum efficiency equipment suite.

  • Development of the Heliotrope Universal Smart Window Coating, which received a 2013 R&D 100 Award.  This unit, which continues to be developed under a Phase II SBIR award, enables near-IR transmission to be dynamically controlled, without impacting visible light transmission, via inexpensive solution-processed film deposition.

  • Commercialization of the Traco OptiQ Ultra Thermal Windows Series (Phase I in 2012, Phase II in 2013).  These R-5 commercial windows have an architectural structural rating (AW), and a thermal performance 30% better than comparable high-structural windows.