Opaque Envelope Technologies Subprogram Area
This subprogram develops next-generation technologies that have substantial potential to cost-effectively reduce building energy consumption and improve demand flexibility and occupant comfort. The opaque envelope comprises all elements of the building envelope besides windows, such as walls, roofs, and foundations, and affects 28% of building energy use, or 11% of total U.S. primary energy use.
Retrofits of existing buildings are particularly crucial to opaque envelope energy savings because nearly 93% of residential and 60% of commercial buildings that exist today will still exist in 2050. Improving the energy performance of the opaque envelope is critical to reducing total building energy use and key to achieving a low-carbon, sustainable future.
The Opaque Envelopes: Pathway to Building Energy Efficiency and Demand Flexibility R&D Opportunities (RDO) report highlights five key areas of technology R&D:
- Ultra-High R/in Insulation Materials
- Envelope Diagnostic Technologies and Modeling Tools
- Envelope Remediation Technologies
- Tunable Transport Materials
- Energy Storage Materials and Systems.
Successful research, development, market entry, and widespread adoption of novel opaque envelope technologies requires sustained, long-term, high-risk/high-reward R&D investment. Collaboration between academia, national laboratories, government, and private industry is critical to achieving these objectives.