Path to Net-Zero Emissions Runs through U.S. Buildings

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The GSA and DOE have issued a request for information for early commercial technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Commercial buildings generate 16% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

In support of the ambitious goal to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have issued a request for information (RFI) to identify technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from commercial buildings.

The GSA Green Proving Ground and DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy joint program RFI — Technologies for Net-Zero Carbon Buildings — aims to support technologies and solutions that are ready for evaluation in occupied, operational buildings and have significant potential for the U.S. marketplace.

“Our mission is to support the widespread deployment of technologies that will decarbonize U.S. commercial buildings,” said Wale Odukomaiya, RFI technology lead and NREL research engineer in the Building Technologies and Science Center. “In a nutshell, we’re looking for innovations that are in the early phase of commercialization to support their launch into the next phase of market adoption through field evaluation.”

Evaluating Technologies Across Three Broad Categories:

  • High-Performance/Low-Carbon Building Technologies and Solutions: Technologies of interest include electrification of major building loads, larger-scale and integrated heat pump systems, retrofit heat recovery systems, electrification of major loads, and building envelope retrofits.
  • On-Site Energy Generation and Storage Systems: Examples include building-integrated photovoltaics (PV), high-efficiency PV, solutions to better integrate PV and storage into building management systems, solar and geothermal, on-site distributed wind, hydrogen fuel cells, and electric vehicle fleet charging solutions.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction or Capture Technologies: This includes on-site carbon capture for fuel-fired processes and technologies that use next-generation refrigerants with low or no global warming potential.

“We are particularly excited for this year’s RFI as it will be central to guiding new investments and initiatives to unlock the power of next-generation building technologies,” said Kevin Powell, GSA Program Director for the Center for Emerging Building Technologies. “We look forward to helping validate the technical aspects of the innovations and evaluating their potential for future deployment.”

10 Years of Building Innovations

Through 10 years of GSA’s Green Proving Ground program, 90 technologies have been selected for evaluation and 23 have been deployed in more than 500 facilities across GSA’s real estate portfolio. Technology evaluation through the program has achieved $203 million in life cycle cost avoidance.

Through the most recent RFI released in December 2020, five American-made technologies were selected to be demonstrated in GSA facilities. These technologies are designed to help maintain healthy indoor air, increase building resilience, and improve on-site PV. More information on these next-generation building technologies and other ongoing evaluations can be found on GSA’s Green Proving Ground Ongoing Assessments page.

Interested in Submitting Your Technology?

The deadline to submit a response to this RFI is December 7, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET. For more information, review the full RFI, read the frequently asked questions, or watch the recording of a recent informational webinar.

Article courtesy of NREL

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