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CI-ReClad and Tunation teams help bring energy-saving technologies to market

Photo credit: Dow Chemical
Topic: Clean Energy

ORNL selected two building technologies projects as part of a DOE pilot designed to accelerate the transfer of clean energy technologies developed in national labs to the marketplace. Lab-Corps, managed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, invited ORNL’s Team Continuous Insulation-ReClad (CI-ReClad) and Team Tunation to participate.

Team CI-ReClad and Dow Chemical Company 

Team CI-ReClad, in partnership with Dow Chemical Company, researched ways to better integrate existing products, such as Dow’s THERMAX Wall System and LIQUIDARMOR sealant, to create more cost-effective solutions for retrofitting walls of commercial buildings to improve energy efficiency. Better integration and construction details for these components would benefit building architects, contractors, and owners by reducing retrofit complexity, time, and cost.

Opaque walls account for 14% of the primary energy consumption of the nation’s commercial buildings. More cost-effective opaque wall retrofit technologies would greatly reduce energy consumption. Currently, the few technologies that fill this niche are too costly for widespread application. Team CI-ReClad conducted 75 interviews with market participants and learned the necessary attributes of appealing solutions. The team then estimated the commercialization potential of the various solutions. 

Led by ORNL’s Diana Hun, Team CI-ReClad included ORNL’s Som Shrestha and Mahabir Bhandari and industry mentor Linda Jeng from Dow Chemical. Lessons learned from this Lab-Corps project will be included in the next round of research efforts under the US–China Clean Energy Research Center for Building Energy Efficiency.

Team Tunation and Facebook

Team Tunation builds its solutions from Autotune, an ORNL-developed software technology that automatically calibrates the energy model of an existing building to measured data from the actual building. Autotune is now open source and is available to private-sector businesses. 

Team Tunation interviewed 86 participants and learned that Autotune is an important piece of the puzzle. However, end users—such as energy service companies, retrofit contractors, and utility demand side management program implementation contractors—need end-to-end software solutions to streamline the energy-saving services they provide. Through Lab-Corps, the team learned they could help end-to-end software solution providers in the building energy efficiency industry integrate Autotune into their products. 

The team is working to build awareness of Autotune’s capabilities among building energy efficiency software providers and help them incorporate Autotune into their software tools. 

Team Tunation included ORNL’s Joshua New (team lead), Jibonananda Sanyal, Aaron Garrett, and industry mentor Varun Singh, Facebook product manager formerly with Sefaira.