Research Focus Areas
Standards & Codes Related Research
In California alone, approximately 28 million external power supplies were sold in 2003; the average efficiency of those power supplies was inexcusably low. With the help of PIER-funding, Ecos Consulting and the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) created a standard testing procedure for single-volt power supplies. A Case Initiative was then prepared for PG&E by Ecos Consulting, the Davis Energy Group, and Energy Solutions to create the power supply standards that are now a part of Title 20.
In 2008, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Program was able to create and launch labeling protocol for external power supplies in the United States and China. This protocol as well as the design guide and testing procedure created with PIER funding have led to increased development of efficient power supplies which has provided significant energy savings to Californians and the rest of the United States.
The NightBreeze™ is an innovative solution to high residential cooling loads. By circulating cool night air through a house, heat stored in a buildings thermal mass can be released during the night which then allows it to naturally store heat during the day. This significantly decreases energy consumed as well shifting that energy consumption to lower rate periods (off-peak).
A report has been drafted for recommended modeling rules, potential compliance credits, and preliminary eligibility criteria for residential night ventilation cooling systems, which are proposed to be added to the 2013 Title 24. This could potentially lead to substantial energy and thus cost savings for California residents.
Radiant heating has well-recognized comfort benefits, but has been hindered by high installation costs and more challenging construction trades coordination issues. This brief summary or technical brief describes a PIER project which developed methods to reduce these barriers. See the final report.
These concepts were developed further at the Western Cooling Efficiency Center at UC Davis, culminating into the introduction of several products for commercial buildings, such as ClimateMat by Viega. Big-box retailers, like Walmart, have tested this system in floor-based radiant cooling systems in California and Nevada, and a Title 24 change has been proposed for 2013 to incorporate modeling for radiant cooling into non-residential compliance software. The radiant cooling systems are expected to save more than 40% of energy compared with all-air cooling.
In Viega's case study on Walmart, it was found that the Climate Mat reduced cooling energy consumption by 50% and required less maintenance than the standard forced air systems.
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