The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2020 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). This funding opportunity will provide up to $80 million for projects that enhance energy demand flexibility across buildings and the electric power grid.

“Improving energy efficiency in our nation’s buildings and homes enables American businesses and families to efficiently consume energy without compromising comfort or performance,” said Mark W. Menezes, deputy secretary, DOE. “By advancing innovative technologies that enhance building design, materials, equipment, and operations, we are building a more resilient energy future.”

Residential and commercial buildings account for nearly 40% of the nation’s total energy demand — more than America’s industrial (32%) or transportation (28%) sectors. Buildings also account for roughly 74% of all electricity use in the U.S. and an even greater share of peak power demand in some regions.

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) overall goal is to use energy more productively and efficiently. These projects will help improve the energy efficiency of America’s building stock, which consists of over 119 million homes and 5.6 million commercial buildings — more than half of which were constructed before 1980.

“Projects funded under this FOA will help advance innovative buildings technologies to move toward a new generation of building energy technologies,” said Daniel R. Simmons, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “These projects will further U.S. leadership in advanced building science and technology.”

The 2020 BENEFIT FOA broadens DOE’s investments in cutting-edge, energy-saving building technologies, systems, and practices that will impact various segments of the buildings industry.

Topics in this FOA include:

  • Thermal storage research;
  • Advanced HVAC systems, which can provide demand flexibility services to the grid;
  • Next-generation refrigeration technologies;
  • Advanced appliance research in areas such as improved compressor design;
  • Next-generation lighting;
  • Whole building electric load optimization;
  • Advanced and more efficient building construction;
  • Improved building retrofit technologies; and
  • Workforce development.

“DOE seeks to advance both the efficiency and flexibility of buildings while improving the comfort and productivity of American families and businesses,” said Alex Fitzsimmons, deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency. “This suite of technologies will not only unlock deep energy savings in buildings but also enable buildings to provide innovative services to the grid with which they’re connected, enhancing the resilience of America’s energy system.”

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