DOE offers $33.5 million for energy-efficient construction technology

May 16, 2019

The Department of Energy is offering $33.5 million of grant money in new construction technology and advanced building techniques with an intent to reduce energy usage in commercial and residential buildings, according to www.constructiondive.com.

The DOE seeks solutions that will allow energy efficiencies after building retrofits, with goals that include a 75% reduction in major loads from HVAC systems. It also seeks construction technologies to help new buildings achieve a 50% increase in energy efficiency through techniques such as offsite manufacturing, robotics, digitization, automation and improved modeling.

The DOE's mission is to help address energy challenges in the U.S. through science and technology. The agency reports commercial buildings use 20% of the U.S' power, and it has long been working to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

DOE supports whole building design—an integrated approach to design and construction that leads to various elements of the building working together to save energy. Some construction considerations include creating high-performance building envelopes; using landscaping for shading; and using a passive solar approach—placing certain sizes and types of windows in specific locations.

Features of buildings using passive house design concepts include optimization of solar gain; an airtight building envelope; moisture and thermal control through using enough insulation to eliminate thermal bridging; triple-glazed, high-performance windows; and heat-recovery ventilation.