DOE to Invest $98 Million in Research and Development Programs

The DOE is prepared to invest $98 million towards domestic manufacturing of energy storage and technologies.
DOE to Invest $98 Million in Research and Development Programs
A recent Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) by the Department of Energy (DOE) is requesting proposals in three areas to improve U.S. competitiveness surrounding energy technologies and domestic manufacturing for energy storage. The FOA will look to support innovative, advanced manufacturing research and development programs focused on advanced materials, industrial efficiency and productivity, and the electrical grid. "By focusing on energy-related advanced manufacturing technologies, we are building a new era of manufacturing that will stimulate the economy, create jobs and build American energy independence," says U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. $98 million in awards will be funded to high-impact, early to mid-stage research in three topic areas: Topic 1: Innovations for the Manufacture of Advanced Materials Focuses on employing machine learning to develop better batteries, phase change storage materials for heating and cooling applications, and new... read more
 

Why I Love the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge!

A Former Competitor’s Take on the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge
Why I Love the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge!
by Nathan Kahre Long nights, worrying over designs, stressing over deadlines, and more work than I have ever been put through before, this is what I remember from when I competed in what was Race to Zero, now the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. What I also remember is the time spent working with a team, iterations of energy models, and the joy of getting to present all my hard work. I thank Solar Decathlon Design Challenge for the opportunities that I have had in the high-performance home industry. The competition forced me to take the theoretical and make it real. It also put me in connection with experts across the country and landed me my first job in the industry. After spending a day of stressing over the competition, I ended up meeting this crazy production builder that was focusing on net zero homes and wanted to implement new products and techniques to improve the indoor air quality in their homes and hopefully impact the health of the occupants. That twenty-minute ... read more
 

Upcoming EEBA Educational Courses

Looking to refresh your knowledge and grab some CEUs? Attend an upcoming EEBA educational course and receive both!
Upcoming EEBA Educational Courses
Mike Barcik, Senior Engineer at Southface Institute, will be leading The HERS Associate & Taking the Performance Path: An Introduction to the HERS Index & IECC Compliance in Orlando, FL on May 14, 2019. The HERS Associate & Taking the Performance Path: An Introduction to the HERS Index & IECC Compliance course is a one-day event that reviews the HERS Index, RESNET, and Building Science principles as they relate to the Performance Path option in the IECC. Participants will learn about the strategies and tools used by HERS Raters to perform analysis of a house to produce a HERS Index Score. The last part of the session will be spent reviewing energy rating software that is most often used by HERS professionals, and manipulating various construction assemblies to see the effect of HERS Index scores. CEUs are available for AIA/CES (HSW), BPI, ICC, NAHB, NARI and NATE. The course will be held at Trane North Florida DSO, 3401 WD Judge Road, Suite 110, Orlando FL ... read more
 

EEBA Recap of the Design Challenge

Students involved with the Solar Decathlon Design Challenge produce some amazing projects and prove why they are invaluable to the future of our industry.
EEBA Recap of the Design Challenge
Last weekend EEBA Executive Director, Nancy Bakeman, had the privilege of attending the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon Design Challenge in Golden, Colorado. Over 400 people with a wide variety of backgrounds were in attendance at what Bakeman says was an “energizing and inspiring” event. “These kids are brilliant, and it was such a cool experience to see,” says Bakeman. Before the event even began, teams had to produce a 60+ page report outlining all the details of their project. The weekend itself was packed with events, tours of the National Renewable Energy Lab, presentations and some fun team challenges. On Saturday Bakeman listened to many of the amazing presentations and had a chance to talk with the students. First place awards were handed out to the Design Challenge teams in six different categories on Sunday morning during breakfast. In addition, 11 teams in the Build Challenge were announced that are able to move forward with their... read more
 

In Honor or Earth Day, We’re Giving You a High Performance Offer

For a limited time, EEBA is offering a deep discount on the 2019 High Performance Home Summit.
In Honor or Earth Day, We’re Giving You a High Performance Offer
From October 1-3 builders, architects, educators, manufacturers and energy geeks from around the country will descend upon Denver, Colorado for the 37th Annual High Performance Home Summit. EEBA is offering a 25% discount on the already reduced rate - but only through Earth Day, Monday, April 22nd! This year’s theme, Reach for the Summit: A Future Where Every Home is High Performing, Healthy & Resilient, is appropriately titled - Colorado is home to over 50 fourteeners (mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet). The conference theme will focus on the following goals: The Trek In A commitment to defining and building high performance homes Base Camp Knowing where you are and identifying your goals Acclimatization Understanding the methodologies, materials, and strategies to achieve success The Summit Verifiable performance and measured success Our host hotel will be the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown. It is conveniently located less than a mile from Denver... read more
 

SOLAR DECATHLON DESIGN CHALLENGE FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

This weekend, students from 47 teams from around the world will compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Design Challenge.
SOLAR DECATHLON DESIGN CHALLENGE FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will be abuzz this weekend, April 12-14, 2019, as hundreds of students descend upon Golden, Colorado for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. 38 colleges will be represented from around the world including Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, Panamá, England, and Brazil will join teams from the U.S. in this highly competitive event. Competing teams will have spent 1-2 academic semesters creating solutions for real-world issues in the building industry. Teams will present their designs to a panel of industry experts in one of six building type categories: Suburban Single-Family, Urban Single-Family, Attached Housing, Mixed-Use Multifamily, Elementary School, or Office Building. Innovation, cost-effectiveness, time to build, quality, resilience, grid-interactivity, efficiency, and local responsiveness are all areas in which each team will be judged. A winner will be chosen in each category, in addition to an... read more
 

The Future of Energy Efficiency in Off-site Construction

As we look forward on housing demand, how can we use what we’ve learned in energy efficiency over the years and apply it to the future of the building industry?
The Future of Energy Efficiency in Off-site Construction
When I take a look around the construction industry today, I admit I’m pretty surprised if a builder has not implemented some kind of energy efficiency standards into their building practices. Of course, this was not always the case. The emergence of many of the energy efficiency programs in the 80’s and 90’s were a direct result of the energy crisis in the 70’s. Policymakers in Washington were motivated by a new level of environmentalism as efforts were made to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels. A specific challenge drove the industry to work on solutions. And even with the strides that have been made in the energy efficiency sector, it still remains far from perfect. But that’s what progress is all about, right? It’s solid, incremental changes, and constantly pushing the bar higher. The most dire challenge currently facing the U.S. (and other countries around the world) is housing affordability. Both in our inability to create it fast enough, and the inability... read more
 

The Need for Energy Automation

The Need for Energy Automation
As various states around the country amp up the use of renewable energy sources, the structure of the electricity grid will continue to morph into a system that sustains more and more automation. Blake Richetta and Olaf Lohr of sonnen Inc. wrote: “The challenges posed by the intermittent and unpredictable nature of renewable energy on the electricity grid are well documented and include the monumental task of connecting renewable generation, at the specific time that it is generated, with energy demand. Additionally, renewables put considerable strain on the electrical grid from a voltage and frequency regulation perspective.” Distribution automation (DA) technologies surrounding smart grids have been around for a while and are continuing to advance as energy systems are increasingly being inundated with distributed resources. The increase in natural disasters creates a greater need for grids that are resilient in extreme weather events, making the need for distribution... read more
 

The Flashing Yellow Arrow

Ongoing education is essential for keeping up with what's going on in your industry, and not getting stuck at that blinking light.
The Flashing Yellow Arrow
Back in 2013 I was working on a project in Tucson, Arizona. One day as I was driving around town, I got into a left turn lane on a green light and waited for an opening. To my surprise, the light went from green to a flashing yellow arrow - something I had never seen before. Cars were honking behind me and I just sat there while the light turned red. If you’re judging me right now, go ahead. To my defense, I grew up on an island that had ZERO stop lights and only a handful of stop signs. I later discovered that the Federal Highway Administration had passed some type of ordinance in 2009 “authorizing the use of flashing yellow arrows nationwide.” And just so you know, there are areas in SW Louisiana that JUST made the switch in late 2018. Later that same day while reflecting on that incident, I knew I should have instinctively known what to do on that flashing yellow light. But it also made me think...driving is something I did almost every single day but I hadn’t studied or read ... read more
 

It’s All About People

It’s All About People
Back in the early 2000’s I was working as a Limited Practice Officer in Washington State. The real estate market was on fire and we couldn’t close deals fast enough. Realtors were pulling in huge commissions and lenders were having a hay-day. As we crept closer to 2008, home and land prices were becoming ridiculously high and I remember wondering why, and how, people were obtaining so many 2nd and 3rd mortgages. I recall a few instances when buyers were signing documents and would say something like, “Well, I sure hope I can afford my utility bill after this.” They were joking at the time, but upon receipt of that first bill, many may have quickly realized they actually couldn’t afford the house they had just purchased, in addition to the utility bill that went along with it. By law, as a neutral third-party we were not allowed to advise buyers and sellers on anything except to tell them if they had concerns they should talk to their realtor or lender. After leaving that side of ... read more