The Department’s Energy Innovation Hubs are helping to advance promising areas of energy science and engineering from the earliest stages of research to the point of commercialization where technologies can move to the private sector by bringing together leadings scientists to collaborate on critical energy challenges.
The Energy Innovation Hubs aim to develop innovation through a unique approach, where scientists and engineers from many disciplines work together to overcome the scientific barriers of development. In this environment, they can accomplish greater feats more quickly than they would separately.
The Efficient Buildings Design Challenge
Buildings account for about 40 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S., making the work of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub vital to ensuring that greater energy efficiency in buildings is realized. The goal of the Hub is to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions of both new and existing buildings while also stimulating private investment and quality job creation.
Focused on existing average size commercial and multi-family residential buildings, the goal is to transform the retrofit and new construction processes into a systems-delivery industry and demonstrate building operational energy savings of 50 percent by 2015 in a scalable, repeatable and cost effective manner across a broad building stock, while preserving workplace quality. A secondary goal is improving the usability and accuracy of computer models that predict the amount of energy that will be used by different building designs.
Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub)
The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) team is taking a “living lab” approach, working in a 30,000-square-foot building in the Navy Yard, where they are testing how different technologies interact in the building with sophisticated sensors and modeling equipment. They are also monitoring humidity and air flow in buildings – a task that is intimately tied with building efficiency and comfort – and that hasn’t yet been deciphered, given that it is surprisingly difficult to track.
The overarching goal of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub is to discover how to cut building energy use in existing buildings by 50 percent by 2015. Those discoveries would then be distilled into best practices that will be scalable, repeatable and cost effective so that industry can implement the consortium’s recommendations.
On August 4, 2010, the Energy Department announced the selection of EEB Hub, a team led by Pennsylvania State University, to run the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. This group is partnered with national labs, universities and private companies. Eventually, the building will serve as the headquarters for the consortium of academic, industry and National Laboratory partners led by Pennsylvania State University.