Blog   |   Jan 31st, 2018 TRC Wins Department of Energy Grant to Test Integrated Technology Approach to Building Energy Efficiency

Trc Doe Grant Energy Efficiency

Technology that monitors daylight coming into a building to optimize electric lighting, or motorized shades that automatically open and close to optimize solar access and minimize the need for air conditioning, are proven and increasingly well-known strategies for improving building energy efficiency. Advanced lighting retrofits, including LED lighting technologies and advanced lighting controls, are getting more attention due to reducing costs and demonstrated benefits. HVAC controls optimization by itself has significant potential to harness energy efficiency in existing commercial buildings.

But how much more could technologies like these yield in energy savings and comfort for building occupants, if they were easily applied through “plug-and-play” packages configured for the specific building type and optimized to maximize their benefits?  What if they were made responsive and “smart” by systems that understand when people are present in an office and what their demonstrated preferences are for lighting and temperature levels? And what if they could be backstopped by “fault detection” systems that instantly recognize when a component technology is malfunctioning, ensuring the system operates at peak performance at all times?

To explore these opportunities, TRC is leveraging funding received through the Building Technologies Office (BTO) within the U.S. Department of Energy and its Scaling up the Next Generation of Building Efficiency Packages competitive award. BTO has invested over $3 million in projects aimed at generating and sharing real-world innovation and experience with commercial multi-system building energy efficiency packages, including collaborative teams that streamline the introduction of new technology packages into utility processes. These strategic research and development investments spur the advancement of energy efficient building technologies that can dramatically improve the energy performance of commercial buildings, saving money and helping create jobs.

In TRC’s “Integrated Solutions for Optimized Performance (ISOP) Packages,” we are combining innovative pre-commercial technologies with smart controls to maximize energy efficiency and conservation in multiple buildings at Princeton University and Stockton University in New Jersey. TRC is leading the team in partnership with marketing and outreach support from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is overseeing the optimum design, installation, operation, and validation of ISOP package performance in selected operational, occupied buildings. TRC also serves as the administrator for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) Clean Energy Program (NJCEP), and through this role, we can use successes from the project to inform the next generation of NJCEP-offered incentive programs.  The team is also working with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to provide independent third party verification and validation of the ISOP package performance using advanced measurement and verification 2.0 protocols. The project combines:

  • Enlighted Inc.’s advanced lighting and plug-load controls;
  • Rollease Acmeda’s intelligent daylight harvesting through automated, self-powered shades and 3M window films;
  • Fault detection and diagnostics and continuous commissioning (constant monitoring and Big Data analysis of building energy data) using technology from Siemens, Automated Logic, and Facilities Dynamics; and
  • Advanced controls sequences for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems under the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) new Guideline 36.

The DOE selected projects with significant national energy savings impact, dynamic teams including project implementers like TRC, building owners to supply test beds, technology providers, and innovation in bringing research findings and successes to a wider customer base through future utility and State-run programs. Technology installed through the project will also likely be eligible for financial incentives available through the NJBPU Clean Energy Program, and TRC is facilitating these additional benefits.

TRC's ISOP project examines a variety of advanced efficiency technologies and how they work together.

The technological and operational innovation needed to coordinate and cross-leverage all these systems through sophisticated sensors and controls makes this a challenging, exciting project for TRC and our partners. What’s especially promising is that this project has the potential to affect energy consumption across a range of end uses that today represent more than 60 percent of all the energy used in all commercial buildings: HVAC, lighting, and “plug loads” such as computers, servers, appliances, and other devices that get plugged into an electric outlet.

What we learn from real-world experience with cutting-edge technologies at Princeton and Stockton Universities could someday help other buildings across the country save tremendous energy and money while making building occupants more comfortable.

TRC’s ISOP Packages project began in December 2017 and will remain ongoing through 2020. We look forward to sharing updates on research progress and findings in the future.

Next Steps

Acknowledgment: This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Building Technologies Office, Commercial Buildings Integration Program Award Number DE-EE0008188.0000.

Related Topics

Energy Efficiency

Blog Authors

Vasudha Lathey

Vasudha Lathey has more than 14 years of international experience providing clients with technical consulting and management services in areas of high performance building design, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. At TRC she provides project management and strategic program oversight across multiple energy efficiency consulting practice areas. Ms. Lathey is a certified architect with the Council of Architecture, India; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED-AP); Certified Energy Manager (CEM); and a certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM). Ms. Lathey holds a Ph.D. in Urban Environmental Planning and a M.S., Building Design from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor’s of Architecture from Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India. 

​Abhijeet Pande

Abhijeet Pande has more than 17 years of experience in energy efficiency research and demonstrations. At TRC he applies his expertise in architecture and sustainable design to program development, emerging technologies, codes and standards, and evaluation. He partners with utility and government clients for emerging solutions and innovative approaches to zero net energy (ZNE) building, deep energy retrofit and other efficiency goals. As an associate vice president, Pande provides oversight for building science research, emerging technologies assessments, energy simulation studies, and field verification of savings. Mr. Pande has an M.S. in Building Design from Arizona State University, chairs an ASHRAE committee and is a member of the UC Berkeley Center for the Built Environment’s Industry Coalition.