Lead Performer: PARC Xerox—Palo Alto, California
-- Energy ETC – Union City, California
-- Amphenol Advanced Sensors – St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania
DOE Total Funding: $500,893
Cost Share: $125,223
Project Term: December 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019
Funding Type: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) – 2017 (DE-FOA-0001632)

Project Objective

Buildings are often overventilated by as much as six times the required minimum rates1 leading to a significant increase in energy use for ventilating, cooling, and heating. Demand control ventilation (DCV) can achieve energy savings of 17.8% on average across all U.S. climate zones relative to simple occupancy sensing for lighting alone.2 The sensing of carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations can be used as a proxy for occupancy to tune DCV with respect to human bioeffluent (odor) levels so that indoor CO2 concentrations are less than 700 ppm above the outdoor air concentration, per the ASHRAE Standard 62 metric.

Unfortunately, CO2 sensors are limited in their long-term performance due to unreliability associated with sensor drift, as well as expensive and disruptive recalibration. The focus of this project is on the development of a novel CO2 sensor through the investigation of physisorption, or measuring the heat generated by the absorption of CO2 into a sorbent. Researchers will utilize the temperature variation when CO2 reversibly physisorbs to a highly conductive and high surface area sorbent surface to develop an ultra-low cost, size, weight, and power (SWaP) printed CO2 sensor.  

The team will integrate the developed sensing medium into PARC’s previously developed flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) peel-and-stick platform that measures humidity, temperature, light, strain, and gases such as carbon monoxide, methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide at an anticipated cost of <$15/node at scale. The goal of this system is to adjust ventilation dynamically based on CO2 level and occupancy, on a room-by-room or zone-by-zone basis to enable a potential savings of 0.33-0.38 Quads of energy each year.


DOE Technology Manager: Erika Gupta
Lead Performer: Clinton Smith, PARC Xerox


1 Persily, A. et al. Analysis of Ventilation Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation (BASE) Study (2004).

2 Zhang, J. et al. Pnnl-22072 1–79 (2013).

Related Publications