$8 Million DOE Funding to Improve Next-Generation HVAC Systems

October 09, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

The Energy Department today announced nearly $8 million to support research and development of the next generation of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies. The R&D will focus on developing regionally appropriate HVAC solutions that would offer significant potential energy savings for new and existing buildings, and on developing innovative approaches that could replace current vapor compression HVAC technologies and their use of refrigerants that harm the global environment.

Currently, HVAC systems account for the largest proportion of energy used in buildings, consuming almost 14 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of primary energy annually—or nearly 30% of all energy used in commercial and residential buildings. Developing non-vapor-compression HVAC systems could potentially lead to an estimated 40% primary energy savings over current technologies.

In addition to focusing on improving the efficiency of technologies using established ratings as measured by the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) and/or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), the research is aimed at developing technologies or systems that improve partial load efficiency, as HVAC systems operate at partial load most of the time. The Energy Department seeks proposals from businesses, universities, non-profits, and national laboratories.