It was only a little over a decade ago when LED lighting, variable air volume, direct digital controls and building automation systems were emerging onto the market. The once cutting-edge technologies are now standard in most new commercial and residential building practices. What about the trends that are beginning to take shape now? What new strategies to help achieve energy efficiency might you expect in the coming  years? Recently, The Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR), which assesses the status of the existing technologies that can reduce energy.

In the report it is noted that the building energy use could be cut by more than 20% by 2030. That is a great deal of energy consumption that can be saved! This percentage is based on technologies that are already being used and are known to reduce energy consumption. If research goals are met and improvements are made to the efficiency of these measures it is predicted that the 20% energy savings could translate into savings over 35%.

For equipment such as HVAC, lighting and plug loads, opportunities still remain to increase the performance of the individual components. With new research and development, new technologies could emerge such as…

  • High-efficiency heat pumps that reduce or eliminate the use of GHG-emitting refrigerants
  • Thin insulating materials
  • Windows and building surfaces with tunable optical properties
  • High efficiency lighting devices, including improved green LEDs, phosphors and quantum dots
  • Improved software for optimizing building design and operation
  • Energy harvesting sensors and controls
  • Interoperable building communication systems and optimized control strategies

The result of this report shows that, ““capturing potential future savings will require market-focused programs that encourage rapid adoption of efficient technologies, including credible information, standards, labels and other policies that help consumers understand the costs and benefits of energy purchasing decisions.”

What are  your thoughts on some of these new ideas and trends emerging in the energy efficiency world?