Lead Performer: University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Lincoln, NE
-- Colorado State University – Fort Collins, CO
-- New Buildings Institute – Portland, OR
DOE Total Funding: $400,000
Cost Share: $100,000
Project Term: June 2020 – June 2023
Funding Type: Advanced Building Construction FOA Award

Project Objective

The objectives of this project are to (1) develop and test a cost-effective and replicable method for validating building energy standards in commercial modular construction and (2) assess the impact of energy-efficiency technologies, measures, and related code provisions on building energy performance. This project will expand on the DOE commercial field study methodology to validate the potential of modular construction to more effectively meet the energy-efficiency requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). This will be accomplished through a multiyear field study targeting four climate zones in three states {CA, PA and WA}, documenting energy performance of 45 modular projects with a focus on multifamily buildings. Research will be conducted via both modular manufacturing and construction. In addition, the field team will evaluate market challenges and opportunities that may affect the scalability of modular construction in the commercial / multifamily sector, such as design flexibility, cost, schedule, quality, transportation logistics, safety and labor availability.

Project Impact

Prefabrication in a controlled, factory setting has the potential to improve energy efficiency and performance while streamlining related code-compliance processes and better enabling the integration of advanced technologies. When integrated, this approach may reduce total energy use by 50 percent when compared to comparable site-built construction.

With a focus on multifamily occupancies, this project is uniquely positioned to address energy affordability among lower income and underrepresented market segments that have had historically high utility costs. Similarly, three of the four target regions are located in disaster-prone states, providing the opportunity to address issues related to resilience. Lastly, this project supports domestic production and specifically, workforce and economic development within the U.S. manufacturing sector.


DOE Technology Manager: Jeremy Williams, Jeremy.Williams@ee.doe.gov  
Lead Performer: Kevin Grosskopf, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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