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Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research

Exploring new ways to optimize building energy solutions

The Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research Group cost-effectively improves the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of building systems by exploring new and emerging materials, components, and systems as well as the fundamentals of heat, air, and moisture transfer. Research includes energy optimized solutions, building to grid communications, and systems integration for neighborhoods of the future.

Working with industry, universities, and other stakeholder partners, the group accesses capabilities at ORNL’s Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC), a National User Facility dedicated to infrastructure R&D, featuring unique test chambers, two light commercial buildings (flexible research platforms) and a residential home. The unoccupied research house serves as a single-home test bed to inform ways to reduce overall house energy demand by analyzing data collected from the home’s appliances. The Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research group has developed novel control strategies for homes that utilize a neighborhood-level microgrid including solar photovoltaic, a battery storage system and natural gas-fired power generation.