WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $14 million in funding for research and development projects that support the advancement of early-stage, breakthrough energy efficiency technologies for buildings and homes.

Seven incubator projects will be funded with nearly $6 million to improve HVAC, water heating, sensors and controls, and building energy modeling. In addition, eight frontier projects will receive $8 million to address energy efficiency in building thermal insulation, windows, and advanced clothes dryers.

Cost-shared with a $3 million investment from industry, the projects are intended to significantly reduce energy consumption in commercial and residential buildings. In 2013, this accounted for nearly 40 percent of all energy use in the United States, an estimated cost of $413 billion.

The incubator projects selected for funding are:

• University of Florida (Gainesville, Florida), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) and Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, New York) — A gas-fired combined water heater, dehumidifier, and cooler that uses membrane-based absorption to cool and dehumidify an interior space, and uses water condensed during dehumidification to heat domestic hot water.

• ORNL with Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) (Livermore, California) and University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland) — A high-performance refrigerator that uses a novel rotating heat exchanger that allows for evaporation without the need for a defrost cycle.

• Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) (Berkeley, California) with California Energy Commission (Sacramento, California) — A hybrid energy modeling method that combines physics-based simulations with on-site measured temperature data to create a more robust model for retrofit analysis.

• SNL with Creative Thermal Solutions (Urbana, Illinois) — An ultra-efficient air conditioning and heating system based on an air-bearing rotary heat exchanger for building-scale HVAC systems.

• QM Power Inc. (Lee’s Summit, Missouri) with United Technologies Research Center (East Hartford, Connecticut) — A higher efficiency HVAC electric motor with a novel parallel magnetic circuit path that will lower the cost of the motor by reducing the size of the conductor loop and using less powerful magnets.

• Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio) with Intwine Connect LLC (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) — Transforming conventional buildings into smart buildings by developing low-cost, user-installable building sensors that are powered without wires or batteries and instead harvest power from vibrational energy in the environment.

• ORNL with Richman Surrey LLC (Scottsdale, Arizona) and University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee) — Improving energy efficiency in small and medium commercial buildings by non-intrusively monitoring load and equipment health of HVAC systems.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) helps to accelerate the development and facilitate the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. For more information on its building technologies work, visit the Building Technologies Office web page.

Publication date: 7/28/2014

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