Building technology research and transitioning to commercial applications is accelerating.

Last week, the U.S. DOE announced more than $20.1 million in federal funding for 58 projects, supported by their Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). Some of the projects are specific to EERE’s Building Technologies Office and may affect commissioning trends and tools. They are in progress at ORNL, PNNL, NREL, and ANL national laboratories.

EBCx Process:

Retro-Commissioning Sensor Suitcase for Energy Efficiency. This PNNL project will develop and demonstrate a second prototype version of a Retro-Commissioning Sensor Suitcase-based, market-ready product that will address the need for RCx in the small and medium commercial building markets.

Building Enclosure:

Primer-Less, Self-Healing Sealant for Building Envelopes. Leaks in the air-and-water-resistive barriers of building envelopes are typically related to sealant failures. ORNL will develop a primer-less, self-healing sealant that will outperform commercially available technologies by recovering near-original performance after damage.

Self-Healing Films for Vacuum Insulation Panels and Air/Vapor Barrier Membranes. This project will develop multi-layer barrier films with self-healing properties for vacuum insulation panels. ORNL will scale up from lab-scale to large-scale films and optimize the coating materials and processes.

Preparing Large Area of Thermochromic Nanocomposite Films for Smart Window Application. Smart, transparent nano-VO2/polymer composite films have emerged as a highly energy-efficient window product. Existing batch-manufacturing methods for preparing VO2 nanoparticles are extremely slow, have poor quality control, are labor intensive, and present safety concerns. A modern, intensified chemical process is required, which this ANL project seeks to develop.

Energy/Analytics Software:

3D Reality Modeling Software. ORNL has developed a technology package called AutoBEM that can create EnergyPlus building energy models using data from disparate sources. Bentley Systems has developed ContextCapture, which creates 3D models from groups of images. In this project, ORNL will assist Bentley in integrating AutoBEM into ContextCapture to turn the 3D models into building energy models, which can be further refined using Bentley’s energy-simulation tools.

Smart Building Start. PNNL will work with industry partner Verdicity to make a “shrink-wrapped product” of the VOLTTRON-hosted Smart Building Start application to use as a distributed energy solution. Verdicity plans to deploy the product at scale at its commercial building sites.

SMDS (Smart Monitoring and Diagnostic System). PNNL will work with JouleSmart to integrate SMDS algorithms into JouleSmart’s cloud-based analytics platform, providing an added service to JouleSmart customers. PNNL will validate and refine SDMS using JouleSmart customer data.

Improving the Accuracy of Building Energy Models Used in the Design Process. In this project, NREL will help Autodesk and Cedar Stack integrate the Building Component Library (BCL) and Technology Performance Exchange (TPEx) with Systems Analysis. This integrated resource should give users access to a broader array of HVAC component and system models, including manufacturer performance curves.