We performed a major research project for the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) between 2001 and 2005, which involved studying several new energy efficiency technologies applicable to the low income residential market. This study was comprised of several projects, some of which are described below and included analyzed savings results for each of the systems installed and tested.
Simplified HVAC Thermostat: We designed an innovative thermostat that does not require programming and can adapt to the temperature control habits of the occupants. It was a learning thermostat with features later incorporated by NEST incorporated into currently marketed products.
Attic Ventilation: We performed two-year monitoring of radiant barrier performance in existing houses. We also designed a residential roof spray system and monitored its performance with an advanced centralized monitoring panel.
Attic Pre-heating of Water for Water Heating: We designed and installed three different passive water pre-heating systems in newly constructed residential units. We also designed an elaborate monitoring system that tracked all operating parameters of the system, including water temperature at various points, ambient and attic temperature, hot water heater status, and water consumption.
Ducts in Conditioned Space: We designed ducts within conditioned space for Habitat for Humanity and Mercy Housing California and assisted in the construction process. We performed duct leakage testing, system sound transmission tests, indoor air quality tests on these houses to ensure that the additional tightness of the house did not contribute to poor indoor air quality. We devised a monitoring box to record temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide data.
Evaporative Cooler and Air Conditioner Integration: We designed a control system that integrates an evaporative cooler with a standard packaged air conditioner. The control system chooses which equipment to run based on the outdoor air temperature. We established a monitoring panel on all integrated systems to track equipment operation and indoor and outdoor temperature.