The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $30 million in funding for a new program focused on improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings. (DE-FOA-0001425) ARPA-E’s Single-pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Designs (SHIELD) program seeks to reduce heat-loss for improved building efficiency by developing innovative materials that are both transparent and insulating to retrofit existing single-pane windows.
Commercial and residential building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems accounted for 14% of the nation’s total energy consumption in 2013, and about a quarter of that energy is wasted by heat leaking through windows. Many buildings with existing single-pane windows cannot support the weight, size or appearance of more efficient double pane window units, however retrofitting single-pane windows can reduce heat-loss and save roughly the amount of electricity needed to power 32 million US homes each year.
The SHIELD program aims to develop innovative materials to retrofit single-pane windows to demonstrate the benefits of double-pane insulated windows, and reduce their heat loss by 50% while significantly reducing retrofit costs.
SHIELD will support research in three broad technology categories. The first category will enable products that are applied onto existing windowpanes. The second is for manufactured windowpanes with similar weight and thickness to current panes, and that could be installed as replacements for existing windowpanes without necessitating replacement of the sash in which the pane is mounted. As a third category, SHIELD will support proof-of-principle development of innovative components that will enable superior performance in the first two technology categories.
Under SHIELD, ARPA-E will allocate up to $10 million to small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, with up to $20 million made available to all applicants.
ARPA-E also announced funding for SBIR/STTR projects under its GENSETS program which aims to design, build and test improved electric-power generators for use in residential combined heat and power systems. The GENSETS SBIR/STTR program aims to develop 1 kWe (electric) sized generators that are highly efficient (40% or greater); long lasting (10 years or more); low cost ($3,000 or less); and clean. The projects fall under three areas of technology focus: Stirling engines, internal combustion engines, and microturbines.