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DOE Building Technologies Office - Roadmap for Emerging Water Heating Technologies

Created 10/27/2014 by Mark Rehley
Updated 1/1/2015 by Rob Penney
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works with researchers and industry to develop and deploy technologies that can substantially reduce energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings. BTO aims to reduce building-related primary energy consumption by 50% by the year 2030, relative to 2010 consumption. Specifically for water heating, BTO identified primary energy savings targets of 19% by 2020 and 37% by 2030. This roadmap aims to advance BTO’s energy savings goals by identifying research and development (R&D) initiatives for high efficiency water heating technologies that can be deployed in the marketplace within 5 years. BTO R&D focuses on innovative initiatives that accelerate development of technologies. This includes those initiatives that produce near-term improvements, as well as those that advance development of next-generation or transformational technologies. This roadmap does not address early stage science research that is more suitable for the Office of Science, or late-stage market development activities that may be more suitable for industry or for the commercial or residential building integration teams (separate from the emerging technologies group) within BTO.
Posted By: Mark Rehley 10/27/14 on 07:33 AM (Pacific Time)
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Comments (1)
Rob Penney on 01/01/15 on 08:46 AM (Pacific Time)
Thanks for sharing, Mark.  BTO is doing some good work.  We had a meeting with their High Impact Technology (HIT) team lead recently and are trying to collaborate more with them and other organizations with similar interest in emerging efficiency technologies.

On the technology side, it would be interesting to crosswalk BTO's roadmap with BPA's.  Thermoelectric HPWH wasn't on my radar, and I'm curious to see how that develops.  I'm glad they included CO2 HPWH.  It's early, but I think that shows great promise. They don't seem to mention the three-function heat pump, which integrates space heating and cooling with domestic water heating.  This isn't fully ready for prime time, but I think it may have great potential for overall energy use reductions, including water heating.  BPA's E3T program has an initial assessment of that, as well as CO2 HPWHs.  

One part of this that caught my eye is a list of challenges to advancement.  NEEA is great at looking at these all-important factors.  Lately we've had more discussions about why consumers don't snatch up all these great new emerging technologies that we assess, even if the economics are clearly favorable.  BTO noted:
* Affordability (homeowners tend to focus on first costs, not lifecycle cost analysis)
* Retrofit-ability (need more space or a new drain or exhaust, or larger electric or gas supply)
* Sales driven by emergency replacement needs (need to get plumbers and Home Depot to stock better models) * Human factors (resistance to noise, HPWH cold air, and complex controls)
* System efficiency (long piping runs with high losses, and time-to-tap made worse by low-flow fixtures   I’ll review this in more detail and integrate into E3TNW assessments as appropriate.

I’ll review this in more detail and integrate into E3TNW assessments as appropriate.

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Sector: Residential
Function: Evaluation, Implementation, Marketing, Emerging Technology
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