Category: Technology

Department of Energy Announces Building Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) Funding Awards

The Building Technologies Office announced it is investing up to $19.5 million in 19 projects that will drive innovation in early-stage research and development for advanced building technologies and systems that will serve as a foundation for future technological developments and reductions in building energy consumption. These technologies will improve the efficiency of our nation’s buildings and will help American consumers and businesses save energy and money on their utility bills.

“Technological innovations enable energy-efficiency advances in the buildings sector, providing a tremendous opportunity to reduce energy waste and costs – boosting the competitiveness of U.S. companies and easing energy bills for American families,” said David Nemtzow, director of the Building Technologies Office. “As buildings account for 40% of the energy consumption in the United States, these efficiency innovations allow us to further improve upon past progress.”

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How Big is the Market for Intelligent Efficiency Technology? You May Be Surprised

Our new research reveals that sales of learning thermostats, a very popular form of intelligent efficiency, are expected to be three times as high this year as they were in 2013. This surge suggests broad future use of technologies that can save dramatic amounts of energy.

In recent years, ACEEE has explored the benefits of intelligent efficiency, our term for energy efficiency made possible by the responsive, adaptive, and predictive capabilities of information and communication technologies (ICT). These technologies can save energy by improving control and operation of systems, facilities, organizations, and even neighborhoods. Many products and services make up intelligent efficiency, producing savings in every sector of the economy. Yet very little quantitative information is available to help us understand its breadth and reach.

ACEEE’s new study documents the recent growth in use of intelligent efficiency across the US economy. It identifies how and how much ICT is being used to save energy. Our analysis focuses on four sectors of the economy – buildings, manufacturing, transportation, and government services – where intelligent efficiency applications are most common and are having the greatest impact on end-user energy consumption.

More than two dozen applications of intelligent efficiency with the potential to save significant amounts of energy have seen market acceptance. Each application has distinct features and benefits, and some applications are used in multiple sectors. What’s the potential impact of such overlap? Our analysis answers that question and quantifies market acceptance of each application with one or more indicators such as annual sales or product availability.

For example, learning thermostats reduce energy use in residential buildings and are a key component of many utility-sector energy efficiency and demand-response programs. They also contribute to smart city benchmarking initiatives. In 2013, 2 million smart thermostats were sold, but this year that number is expected to triple. Sales in the larger product category of home energy management (HEM) is projected to increase from $273 million in 2013 to $1.8 billion in 2020. As the sales of these products increase, the share of homes with HEM products is expected to increase. In 2015, only 5% of homes had some type of HEM device, but the number is estimated to reach 19% by 2021.

Read more (The Energy Collective)