Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research

Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research

ORNL’s Building Envelope and Urban Systems Research Group is exploring new and emerging materials, components, and systems and the fundamentals of heat, air and moisture transfer to optimize energy solutions for whole building systems and communities. Research includes roofs, walls, window systems, energy optimization tools, sensors and controls, building to grid communications, and systems integration.

Whole-Building and Community Integration

Publications

Coordination and Control of Building HVAC Systems to Provide Frequency Regulation to the Electric Grid

Buildings consume 73% of electricity produced in the United States and, currently, they are largely passive participants in the electric grid. However, the flexibility in building loads can be...

Investigation of the proposed solar-driven moisture phenomenon in asphalt shingle roofs

Unvented attics are an energy-efficiency measure to reduce the thermal load of the conditioned space and decrease the space conditioning energy consumption by about 10%. This retrofit is usually done...

A modeling framework for optimal energy management of a residential building

Residential buildings are currently equipped with energy production facilities, e.g., solar rooftops and batteries, which in conjunction with smart meters, can function as smart energy hubs...

Capabilities & Research Areas

More than 70% of the global population will live in an urban area by 2050. To cost-effectively improve the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of building systems, ORNL is exploring new and emerging materials, components, and systems as well as the fundamentals of heat, air, and moisture transfer. ORNL is conducting research on energy optimized solutions for whole building systems and communities. Interdisciplinary teams are advancing new envelope technologies, building energy models, sensors and controls, buildings to grid communications, and systems integration for neighborhoods of the future. BE&USR and industry, universities, and other stakeholder partners use unique capabilities at ORNL’s Building Technologies Research & 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.