GTI Awarded Nearly $4 Million for California Energy Research and Development

September 2009 Vol. 236 No. 9

The California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $4 million to the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) to research ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions in residential buildings.

The money comes in the form of two research contracts. Through one Energy Commission award, GTI will manage a 30-month program which includes 15 partner organizations with the aim to provide design and installation guidance for high-efficiency radiant cooling and heating systems, and related envelope improvements in existing California homes.

“This R&D project has the potential to reduce system costs while significantly increasing the installed efficiency of residential space conditioning systems in cooling-dominated climates throughout California, especially hot dry climates,” says Neil Leslie, GTI’s R&D Manager and program manager for the Energy Commission project. “As a result, we believe that up to 75 percent reduction in space conditioning energy consumption is possible along with significant energy demand reduction. In addition, California ratepayers will gain the benefits of reduced carbon emissions, enhanced comfort, and improved quality construction. We expect these results to apply to both new and existing homes.”

The second research contract addresses energy and efficiency issues for water heating systems.

“Natural gas water heating is used in over 80 percent of the 12.3 million California households, and consumes over 2.1 billion therms annually,” says Doug Kosar, GTI’s Institute Engineer and program manager for the three-year Energy Commission project. He says the program will reduce the amount of energy spent in residential water heating by expediting adoption of higher efficiency gas technology.

Key deliverables of the project include: integrated hot water generation and distribution system analysis tools; efficient water heating equipment and piping system best practices guides; standard testing and rating methods and building/energy code developments; water heating, piping, and venting equipment laboratory evaluations; field performance monitoring and consumer behavior studies and advanced water heating system training for the plumbing trades.

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