Proposal Title Commercializing and Prototyping a Simplified Zero-Carbon Building
Category Environmental and Energy Technologies
Abstract PowerhouseTM is a low-cost, plug-and-play, integrated solar-mechanical system that supplies all the heating, cooling, hot water, cooking, and power needs of a low-energy home. The PowerhouseTM system uses the inherent thermal and electrochemical storage capabilities of a super-insulated building envelope and everyday devices to make carbon-neutral living a practical, affordable, and widely available option. This proposal seeks to move the project to the building-level prototyping stage. In particular, under the Kentucky Matching Funds Program, we will prototype a small, zero-carbon building integrating the low-temperature solar thermal collectors that are the heart of the Powerhouse system into a functioning system; install a data monitoring system to enable future validation of the dynamic simulations developed in the NSF Phase I; carry out business planning for the first commercial real estate project to demonstrate the technology; and prototype a simple means of processing hemp for the building insulation panels. The PowerhouseTM system is expected to be cost-competitive with common existing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems on an installed cost basis. Finally, the Powerhouse TM approach offers policymakers an effective and minimally disruptive energy transition path. A global consensus is emerging on action to avoid climate-related disruptions and security concerns. Because inefficient energy usage is so prevalent, energy efficiency is the most cost-effective and scalable energy transition fuel, without the financial or environmental risk of natural gas, or the technological uncertainty of utility-scale electrochemical storage. The technology has the potential to leverage deep penetration of renewable energy into the nation’s electric power system, reduce power sector emissions and support cost-effective, risk-aware investments by electric utilities. In addition, the commercialization of the proposed integrated mechanical system could expand the number of sites deemed to be appropriate for renewable energy, improve access to affordable housing in general, and create job opportunities in green construction.
Amount Awarded $150,000
Keywords energy efficiency, solar thermal, housing, carbon emissions, climate change, electric utilities, hemp, on-farm, manufacturing, prototype
Point of Contact Ginger Watkins
[email protected]
ORB Technologies LLC
Location Lexington