Developing Energy Efficiency Solutions for Residential Housing

GTI’s efforts on residential energy use focuses on pathways for near to mid-term pathways for improving energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gases, and integrating with renewable energy.

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GTI developed a case study on resi­dential natural gas and electric use in the state of New York. It highlights the potential impact of electrification in New York and the policy implications in terms of carbon abatement cost-effectiveness and impact on electricity demand. The study also highlights various future natural gas pathways for up to 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from gas use in homes. The case study was presented at the 2017 NARUC Summer Policy Summit.

GTI is working on a California Energy Commission project to demonstrate the potential of zero net energy (ZNE) homes that generate as much energy as they consume. GTI is developing and testing advanced energy efficiency packages using low-cost construction methods, high-performance housing techniques, and solar PV in two identical homes: one all-electric and one mixed fuel. The project is being conducted with Habitat for Humanity in a new affordable housing community in Stockton, California.

GTI has also created a Guide to Best Practices for Home Energy Retrofits sponsored by the California Energy Commission.

As a research team leader for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program, GTI is working as part of the Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit (PARR) investigating how residential home performance improvements affect indoor air quality and how different types of mechanical ventilation mitigate any issues. Learn more about the PARR team and over 20 reports here.

Working with emerging technology partners, GTI is involved with demonstration projects of emerging technology in homes, with a large focus on combined space heat and water systems (aka “Combi” systems). GTI is also involved with demonstration projects in Illinois and New York for hybrid space conditioning systems that pair low-capacity furnaces with heat pumps that provide cooling and some heating. These projects have retrofitted systems in both market-rate and income-eligible homes to monitor energy savings over the heating and cooling seasons.

GTI is also tackling the next low hanging fruit in residential energy consumption by investigating and performing applied research on residential hot water heating and distribution systems, including evaluation and demonstration of demand-controlled recirculation loops and hydronic heating combination systems.

Integrating energy efficiency systems with solid high-performance building enclosures sets the stage for zero net enegy (ZNE) homes, and GTI is leading integrative evaluation of how energy efficiency systems integrate with distributed energy generation sources including solar photovoltaics, microgrids, and micro combined heat and power (mCHP) systems. This provides a holistic approach for on-site power generation and resilience for residential consumers.

The Building Research and Consulting team of GTI’s subsidiary Frontier Energy develops innovative approaches for achieving energy efficiency in new and existing residential and small commercial buildings through systems and whole building research and development.

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