Research Focus Areas
Demonstration Research Projects
With the help of PIER, Southern California Edison and the California Lighting Technology Center have performed a study on communications and lighting control technologies and identified the internet as the best medium for a lighting demand response program. When this was tested with various types of lighting control systems it was found that all the systems worked well in a multitude of demand response scenarios. This study led to the creation of the California Lighting Controls Training Program. See the final report.
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning
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.
In partnership with several non-profit housing developers, Green USA set out to build two zero energy affordable housing projects in San Diego County. The housing developments were monitored for a six month period, during which time they were able to keep the apartments electrical demand well below 1 kilowatt per unit. They were also a net exporter of electricity during four of the six monitored months. While they did not meet all of their goals, they provided an excellent example of how affordable low impact housing units can be developed.
To view more projects see our publications search page.