On June 17, 2010, U.S. Department of Energy secretary, Steven Chu, announced that $76 million dollars of energy funding would be awarded to 58 selected projects for the advancement of sustainable buildings.   As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), these task specific projects cover many aspects to advance the energy efficiency in the sustainable construction and operation of buildings in the United States.  Proprietors of these projects include universities, research groups and corporations. 

The funding is split between 45 building technology projects and 13 training programs for sustainable building operations.  As private funding has been raised, the final combined budget for technology and training projects nears $109 million dollars.

Building Technology Projects

The building technology projects were selected to cover the following aspects of a sustainable building:  Electronic system controls, Energy design and analysis tools, Building envelope and window technology, HVAC components, Water heating and electrical loads.

Some specific project selections include: electrochromic windows, energy saving glass, EIFS walls systems, advanced insulation, energy management systems, cold climate heat pumps, and innovative reactor technology.  Several companies share similar project initiatives with minor differences in technology.  This is a safe way for the government to stimulate the sustainable construction industry.  The ARRA funding supports projects for companies producing competing technology.  This will help generate a fair market with lower prices making the use of their products more feasible.  It is also wise because they are all new technology.  Some of the projects support technology that is being produced for the first time.  There is no saying which technologies will be the most energy efficient and sustainable over time, not to mention the use of many energy efficient building products will vary regionally due to climate and site differences. 

Building Maintenance Training

Building equipment technicians and operating engineers across the country will be challenged by the new technology being implemented into new buildings.  The ARRA invests money into training programs to prepare these organizations to handle this new technology.  Many of the training programs with focus on how to repair and use software and hardware associated with different energy management and HVAC controller software.  Artificial light consumption, HVAC levels, and unique renewable energy sources have adopted automated management systems to control a building’s energy consumption as efficiently as possible.  This technology will not be effective in lowering energy consumption if operating engineers are unfamiliar with how to use it. 

In order to function at full potential these systems must be monitored and maintained correctly, hence the building maintenance training programs funded by the DOE.  Selected organizations who were awarded funding for this training include universities and technical colleges, union operating engineers, and energy conservation organizations. 

Click here for DOE selected project listings

Blog posts about specific projects receiving funding:

Soladigm Inc: Dyanmic Windows
Dow Corning: Sustainable Insulation