WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $6 million in funding to accelerate energy efficiency in offices, schools, stores, and other buildings to help businesses and communities save money, create jobs, and reduce pollution.

“The Energy Department is committed to partnering with market leaders who demonstrate cutting edge energy-efficient technologies and practices in new and existing commercial buildings,” said Dr. David Danielson, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “These low-energy building solutions will reduce air pollution and help building owners and operators save money on their operating costs through best practices that can be replicated by others.”

In total, the eight competitively-selected projects will receive $6 million and with private sector cost sharing reach a total investment of $12.5 million.

The projects will demonstrate one or more approaches for improving building energy use by up to 50 percent that can then be replicated across the country. Each project is aimed at increasing the widespread use of high priority tools and technologies supported by DOE.

Projects selected to receive funding are:

City of Milwaukee: Milwaukee and 11 partners will receive $750,000 to demonstrate retrofit approaches in up to 200 commercial buildings across Wisconsin. Approaches will include bundled energy efficiency retrofits to make it easier for owners to choose among their efficiency options paired with emerging finance mechanisms such as property assessed clean energy financing (PACE). Milwaukee will also develop an efficient lighting design pattern book and pilot DOE’s Standard Energy Efficiency Data Platform (SEED), an open-source software application that manages energy performance data of large groups of buildings.

DNV GL Energy: DNV GL Energy will receive $185,000 to implement and demonstrate a systems management approach for quality maintenance and high-efficiency replacements of HVAC rooftop units (RTUs) across more than 100 public elementary, middle, and high schools in New York. Project successes could help increase the efficiency of at least 140,000 RTUs at New York schools, equivalent to saving an estimated 38 gigawatt-hours of electricity.

Energy Center of Wisconsin: The Energy Center will receive $1 million to demonstrate new approaches for procuring new high-efficiency buildings through its Accelerate Performance project, which will emphasize setting explicit high-efficiency performance goals when buying a new building and performance benchmarking. Best practices derived from piloting the tools will be transferred to utility programs and other building portfolios to scale up the program. Project partners include the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Envision Charlotte: Envision Charlotte will receive $500,000 to expand its energy management approaches to more than triple the number of participating buildings across the community. The organization will demonstrate DOE’s Advanced Energy Retrofit Guides, Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines, and Commercial Building Energy Asset Score, used in achieving substantial energy savings.

Institute for Market Transformation (IMT): IMT will receive $1 million to develop an innovative toolkit based on DOE’s Standard Energy Efficiency Database and other resources to enable cities and energy efficiency program administrators to better analyze building energy data for delivering energy savings more successfully. The project’s goals include: demonstrating the value of building benchmarking; creating new building technologies; driving competition; and identifying commercial buildings that would benefit most from energy efficiency programs. Partners include the New York City Energy Efficiency Corp., New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), District of Columbia Department of the Environment, and Vermont Energy Investment Corp.

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator: Through the Technology Demonstration Initiative (TDI), this organization will receive $560,000 to advance the use of highly energy efficient technologies in commercial buildings in California. TDI will measure, document, and publicize the results of the demonstration projects, as well as help property owners define clear metrics to scale up successful demonstration projects to multiple sites. Partners include the Sustento Group LLC and the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge LLC.

Performance Systems Development: The OpenEfficiency Initiative will receive $1 million to design, develop, and deploy an open-source technology platform that links DOE’s tools and solutions to deliver cost-effective energy savings of at least 20 percent in more than 300 commercial buildings in three states. The platform will increase the energy savings per building, the types of buildings served, and accelerate the adoption of whole-building programs in the marketplace. Partners include Xcel, SoCalREN, Energy Coalition, NREL, and Cadmus.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA): RILA and its project partners will receive $750,000 to improve energy savings in the retail sector by helping energy managers secure financing for efficiency projects, a top issue identified as limiting energy-efficiency investment in this significant market sector. This project will result in at least five new replicable, documented energy financial management strategies. These include establishing dedicated energy efficiency budgets; improving project proposal processes; financing team awareness of energy project value and the project piloting processes; establishing energy innovation funds; and utilizing external financing where necessary.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. For more information on its Building Technologies Office initiatives, visit http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/building-technologies-office.

Publication date: 5/11/2015

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!