DOE to provide $80M in funding for energy demand flexibility in buildings

Published on September 30, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will provide up to $80 million for projects that enhance energy demand flexibility in buildings and the electric power grid.

This new funding opportunity is called the Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT). It will award funding for thermal storage research; advanced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, which can provide demand flexibility services to the grid; next generation refrigeration technologies; advanced appliance research in areas such as improved compressor design; next generation lighting; whole building electric load optimization; advanced and more efficient building construction; improved building retrofit technologies; and
workforce development.

“Improving energy efficiency in our nation’s buildings and homes enables American businesses and families to efficiently consume energy without compromising comfort or performance,” Deputy Secretary Mark Menezes said. “By advancing innovative technologies that enhance building design, materials, equipment, and operations, we are building a more resilient energy future.”

Residential and commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of the nation’s total energy demand, which tops both the industrial (32 percent) or transportation (28 percent) sectors. Further, buildings account for roughly 74 percent of all electricity use in the United States.

“Projects funded under this FOA will help advance innovative buildings technologies to move toward a new generation of building energy technologies,” Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said. “These projects will further U.S. leadership in advanced building science and technology.”

These funding of these projects will help improve the energy efficiency of America’s building stock, which consists of over 119 million homes and 5.6 million commercial buildings. It is in line with the goal of the DOEʻs Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which is to use energy more productively and efficiently.

“DOE seeks to advance both the efficiency and flexibility of buildings while improving the comfort and productivity of American families and businesses,” Alex Fitzsimmons, deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency, said. “This suite of technologies will not only unlock deep energy savings in buildings but also enable buildings to provide innovative services to the grid with which they’re connected, enhancing the resilience of America’s energy system.”