The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants to revolutionize housing in the United States through retrofitting existing homes for energy efficiency and changing the way we build them. They’ve awarded $30M in grants allocated over the next 18 months for 15 research and deployment partnerships to universities, corporations, and non-profits. Beyond creating pie-in-sky ideas for green homes, the DOE would like these innovations to be cost effective for average Americans. Support for the Retrofit Ramp-up initiative, including these grants, was announced by Vice President Joe Biden back in April.
According to the press release, existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting – such as air-tight ducts, windows and doors, heating and cooling systems, insulation and caulking – can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.
“Home energy efficiency is one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon pollution and save money on energy bills, while creating new jobs,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “By developing and using tools to reduce residential energy use, we will spur economic growth here in America and help homeowners make cost-cutting improvements in their homes.”
Each grant ranges from $500k to $2M with potential 1-year extensions (up to $20M) for three projects. Universities and private corporations who have won grants include University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, Dow Chemical, the Alliance for Residential Building Innovation (ARBI) led by Davis Energy Group (DEG), and a research team led by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) out of the University of Central Florida in Orlando as well as several others.