Lead Performer: IBACOS Inc. – Pittsburgh, PA
DOE Total Funding: $200,000
Project Term: June 28, 2021 – April 1, 2022
Funding Type: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1

Project Objective

IBACOS Inc. will develop and validate a prototype modulating air distribution manifold that connects to a central home-run duct system and distributes air to different zones of the home as needed. The system will be less expensive than other HVAC zoning systems by using thermoplastic snap-fit connections, and compatible with the existing furnace or heat pump systems installed in most homes.

A proof of concept of the hardware and control algorithms will be developed by utilizing physical prototypes and building energy models. In Phase I of this project, the following objectives will be explored:

  1. Quantify the static pressure performance and per run airflow variability of a home-run airflow regulating manifold when connected to single and multistage air handling equipment.
  2. Quantify the modeled energy efficiency and load shifting capacity of room level zoning using single stage, two stage, and variable speed air handling equipment.
  3. Quantify through modeling the comfort performance achievable with the airflow regulating manifold using single stage, two stage, and variable speed air handling equipment.

Project Impact

This manifold and control technology could provide homes with individual room zoned air conditioning at a price affordable to most homeowners. Individually controlling heating, cooling, and ventilation airflow to each room in a home creates opportunities to significantly improve occupant comfort and energy efficiency. Even for homes with correctly designed and installed HVAC systems, daily and seasonal load variations can result in periods of temperature imbalances and reduced comfort. Additionally, this technology can improve the load flexibility of a home by offering far more granular control than a single zone thermostat during a demand response event allowing a home to shift for shed load for a longer duration without negatively impacting occupant comfort.

Once this technology is commercialized, it will consist of installed components, hardware and software that integrates with an existing snap-fit home-run air distribution technology.


DOE Technology Manager: Fredericka Brown
Lead Performer: Andrew Poerschke, IBACOS

Related Publications

A Plug and Play Duct System Evaluation - https://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/building_america/osti-ibacos-plug-and-play.pdf