While heating and cooling office buildings can account for a large amount of energy usage, the DOE is investing in new technologies focused on providing improved thermal comfort for occupants and decreased energy consumption for building managers. The funding comes from the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and is part of the Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA) program. It will provide $30 million to support 11 projects developing technologies that regulate indoor temperatures focusing on building occupants rather than the overall building. The localization of temperature management is expected to create wider ranges in operating temperatures while reducing facility energy consumption.
One project receiving funding comes from Syracuse University, where researchers are looking to create a near-range micro-environmental control system that leverages a high-efficiency compressor in a micro vapor compression system, with an evaporator embedded in a phase-change material. The material stores cooling produced by the micro vapor compression system and releases it during the day to improve occupant comfort while reducing the amount of overall energy needed to maintain thermal comfort in the building.
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