|By Nuel Navarrete (www.ecoseed.org)|
|Thursday, 22 July 2010|
The United States Department of Energy is releasing $30 million to fund building industry partnerships that will work on energy efficiency projects for homes.
The partnerships will be made up of experts in various fields such as retrofitting, finance and energy management, among others. Their main task will be to improve energy efficiency in United States homes.
Fifteen teams will each receive between $500,000 and $2.5 million, depending on their performance. The total amount of $30 million will be distributed during the initial 18 months.
A total of up to $20 million per year will also be made available for the partnerships, with three potential one-year extensions.
The project is under an Energy Department program that forges research partnerships across the residential building industry to come up with solutions to significantly reduce the average energy use of housing while improving comfort and quality.
Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting – such as air-tight ducts, windows and doors, heating and cooling systems, insulation and caulking – can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.
“Home energy efficiency is one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon pollution and save money on energy bills, while creating new jobs,” said Steven Chu, energy secretary.
“By developing and using tools to reduce residential energy use, we will spur economic growth here in America and help homeowners make cost-cutting improvements in their homes,” he added.
The partnerships are expected to provide technical assistance to retrofit projects; research on and deploy new technologies and demonstration projects; and provide systems engineering, quality assurance and outreach for retrofit projects throughout the country.
One of the chosen teams, the Alliance for Residential Building Innovation, will focus on resolving technical and market barriers to large scale implementation of innovative energy solutions for new and existing homes.
Team members will work towards retrofit activities, providing considerable experience in audits, home performance contracting, marketing and finance.