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June 10, 2016
Energy Department Invests More than $10 Million in Efficient Lighting Research and Development

New projects designed to save consumers money and reduce energy consumption.

June 2, 2016
Energy Secretary Moniz Hosts Gathering of World’s Energy Ministers in San Francisco to Advance Technology Solutions, Accelerate Clean Energy Deployment

21 governments and European Union announce efforts to double clean energy R&D investments over five years to $30 billion per year.

June 1, 2016
Photo courtesy of Dow.
ORNL Collaborates with Industry on Award-Winning Building Envelope Technologies

LIQUIDARMOR, a sprayable liquid sealant developed by The Dow Chemical Company and evaluated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), recently won the 2016 Gold Edison Award for Building Construction & Lighting Innovations. The Edison Awards honor the best in innovation and excellence in the development of new products and services.

May 31, 2016
Credit: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Energy Codes 101: What Are They and What is DOE’s Role?

I recently got back from Louisville, Kentucky, where I was representing DOE in the latest round of energy code development hearings. While the people who participate in the development process know energy codes inside and out, I know they are not as clear to the broader public. So let’s take a step back. Here’s a primer on what energy codes are, how they are developed, adopted, and enforced, and what DOE’s role is in these processes. Future blog posts in this series will zoom into specific topics.

First, here are a few key points:

May 31, 2016
Back row, left to right: Bartlomiej Walentynski (Tiffany & Co.), Joshua Yiangou (REI), Tanvi Umarje (Express), Brad Waters (Under Armour), Lisa Lieberbaum (PVH). Front row, left to right: Nitin Raviprasad (Best Buy), Lillian Mirviss (The Gap), Shuvya Arakali (American Eagle Outfitters), Linh Tran (Guitar Center).
DOE Participates in EDF Climate Corps Training

The Energy Department (DOE) was pleased to help Better Buildings Alliance affiliate Environmental Defense Fund prepare a new class of Climate Corps fellows during their training this past week in New York City.  EDF Climate Corps is an innovative summer fellowship program connecting public and private sector host organizations across the country and abroad with talented graduate students to support clean energy and energy efficiency projects. During the weeklong training, fellows are equipped with best practices and sustainability tools by a robust network of sustainability professionals.

May 26, 2016
Energy Department Announces Partnership with CoStar Group, Inc. to Expand Visibility of Energy-Efficient Buildings in U.S. Real Estate Marketplace

As part of the Obama Administration's effort to cut energy waste in the America's buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative today announced a partnership with CoStar Group, Inc., a provider of data and intelligence solutions to commercial real estate professionals, to expand the visibility of energy-efficient buildings in U.S. property markets and promote the benefits of energy efficiency for building owners and occupants.

May 24, 2016
Financing for energy efficiency was a major focus area of the 2016 Better Buildings Summit. Here’s a deep dive on one such Summit session: Underwriting Energy: Are Commercial Mortgages Ignoring Energy-Related Risks and Benefits, featuring panelists from Fannie Mae, Citi, and the University of California-Berkeley. Image: NREL.
Energy Efficiency as an Asset in Mortgage Underwriting

Securing funding for energy efficiency projects within the commercial sector is difficult due to the perceived risk by lending institutions. Architects and engineers have advanced energy-efficient technologies considerably over the past several years, which often mitigates any risk associated with these projects.

May 23, 2016
DOE Announces JUMP Initiative Winners, Launches New Crowdsourcing Calls at Bay Area Maker Faire

The Department of Energy’s Buildings Technologies Office announced the latest winners for its JUMP platform, an online crowdsourcing initiative aimed at advancing energy-efficient building technologies, during the 11th annual Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, California.

May 23, 2016
Architecture firm HOK calculated the payback of energy modeling—cost of modeling divided by modeled energy cost savings—for a number of their projects. The results? Modeling usually pays for itself in a month or two. Credit: HOK.
The Shockingly Short Payback of Energy Modeling

Energy modeling is often used to evaluate ECM payback, calculating the operational energy savings that accrue after an initial capital investment. One ECM with a consistently short payback—on the order of a month or two—is energy modeling itself!

May 19, 2016
Image: NREL.
DOE Previews Smart Energy Analytics Campaign

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will launch its Smart Energy Analytics Campaign in October 2016, having previewed the campaign at the biannual Better Buildings Summit last week.

May 16, 2016
Energy Department Invests Nearly $2 Million in Small Business-Led Building Technology Projects

The Department of Energy recently announced nearly $2 million for 13 new building technology projects led by small businesses with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation.

May 16, 2016
Credit: Trane
Next-Generation Rooftop Unit Doubles Efficiency, Uses Lower-GWP Refrigerant

Trane Commercial Systems and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have attained 25% greater performance out of a baseline commercial rooftop air-conditioning unit (RTU) by improving the mechanical system design and switching to a lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant.

May 11, 2016
Better Buildings partners have saved more than $1.3 billion on energy costs. Our new infographic explains how Better Buildings works and why it’s important. | Graphic by <a href="/node/1332956">Carly Wilkins</a>, Energy Department
INFOGRAPHIC: Better Buildings Leading to Big Energy Savings

Better Buildings partners have saved more than $1.3 billion on energy costs. Our new infographic explains how Better Buildings works and why it’s important.

May 11, 2016
Better Buildings Challenge Partners Exceed $1.3 Billion in Energy Cost Savings, Share Hundreds of Solutions to Help Spur Future Efficiency Efforts

Better Buildings Challenge partners and energy efficiency commitments have tripled, resulting in energy cost savings that now exceed $1.3 billion.

May 10, 2016
Good Vibrations: No Heat Needed for Ultrasonic Dryers

With support from the Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and GE Appliances are changing the way Americans do laundry with their ultrasonic drying technology that uses vibrations, not heat, to dry fabric.

May 9, 2016
Energy Department Invests $14 Million to Increase Energy Efficiency of Nation’s Homes and Buildings

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 $14 million to dramatically increase the efficiency of our nation’s homes and buildings. These projects will cut energy costs for thousands of American families and businesses, while leading to greater demand for new building products and technologies, many of which can be produced in the U.S.

May 5, 2016
DOE Announces Webinars on Building a Billion Ton Bioeconomy and an Opportunity in Innovative Sensors

EERE offers webinars to the public on a range of subjects, from adopting the latest energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, to training for the clean energy workforce. Webinars are free; however, advanced registration is typically required.

May 3, 2016
DOE Releases Report Showing Tremendous Energy Efficiency Opportunity in Commercial Tenant Spaces

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published its Energy Efficiency in Commercial Tenant Spaces feasibility study that highlights both opportunities and barriers to implementing energy efficient technologies in multi-tenant commercial spaces.

May 3, 2016
The US Army Corps of Engineers Hut test site in Champaign, IL. ORNL used EnergyPlus to model the performance of the original B-Hut (middle), insulated B-Hut (left) and SIP Hut (right).<br />Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
When Saving Energy Helps Save Lives

National lab researchers are working with U.S. Military to evaluate energy-efficient base structures and reduce the need for dangerous refueling missions in hostile territories.

May 2, 2016
The new Heat Pump Design Model web interface, developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, expands the tool’s online accessibility. <br />
Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Web-based DOE/ORNL Heat Pump Design Model Released

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Heat Pump Design Model (HPDM), a hardware-based vapor-compression system research and design tool originally developed in the mid-1970s, remains cutting edge through continuous evolution.

April 26, 2016
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Kaushik Biswas analyzes small-scale modified atmospheric insulation foam composites in a multi-transducer heat flow meter apparatus.
Insulation Project Moves Toward Higher R-value

Current commercially available insulation materials yield R-6 per inch or less with no major improvements in thermal performance since the 1970s. In collaboration with Firestone Building Products and NanoPore, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) team led by Kaushik Biswas and Andre Desjarlais continues to research prototype composite foam boards with modified atmosphere insulation (MAI) cores.

April 26, 2016
Energy Department Recognizes Organizations for Leadership in Rooftop Unit Efficiency

The U.S. Department of Energy recognized six organizations for their leadership in replacing and upgrading rooftop units as part of the Better Buildings Alliance Rooftop Unit Campaign.

April 25, 2016
In Search of Good Ideas!

Join us in the fight to eliminate building energy waste. BTO, five national laboratories, and a dozen industry partners are working to solve some pretty big challenges in building technology and we need your input. 

If you are interested in science and technology, or work in these areas, we want to hear from you! 

Take a look at the each of our current calls for innovation and share your thoughts and ideas:

April 22, 2016
Prairie View A&M Tops 2016 U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition

As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to helping families across the U.S. save money by saving energy, the U.S. Department of Energy announced winners of its third annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition engaging university students to design zero energy ready homes.

April 20, 2016
Palo Duro Homes built this 2,215 square-foot home in Sante Fe, New Mexico to the performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program. The project won a 2015 DOE Housing Innovation Award. 
Photo courtesy Palo Duro Homes
Hear What Homeowners Are Saying About Their Zero Energy Ready Homes

A Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home is a high performance home so energy efficient that a renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption. Zero energy ready homeowners from across the U.S. discuss what they love about their homes.