As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to reduce energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced 12 projects to develop innovative heating, cooling, and insulation technologies for residential and commercial buildings. The projects will receive approximately $11 million of DOE funding, matched by about $1 million in private sector funding.
Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson says, “Energy efficient technologies—from improved heating and cooling systems to better windows and lighting—provide one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save consumers money while curbing greenhouse gas pollution. User-friendly tools that quickly and cheaply analyze energy use will also help businesses and homeowners make better use of those technologies to save energy and lower their utility bills.”
Commercial and residential buildings in the United States use nearly 40 percent of the total energy consumed and produce more than 40 percent of the nation’s carbon pollution. According to the Energy Information Administration, approximately 48 percent of energy consumption in American homes in 2009 was for heating and cooling, down from 53 percent in 1993. It is believed better insulation and more efficient windows and equipment helped drive the decrease; the new projects intend to further improve the savings.
According to the DOE, the projects “will also help curb emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – potent greenhouse gases primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning. In the United States, emissions of HFCs are expected to nearly triple by 2030, and double from current levels of 1.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions to three percent by 2020.”
In addition, a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory concluded commercial building owners could save an average 38 percent on heating and cooling bills by installing energy control systems.
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