Lab Takes on Residential Energy Efficiency in the Southeast

May/June 2013
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2013 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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April 30, 2013
In 2002, the research team in the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC) at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) began a concerted effort to improve the overall health, safety, and comfort of occupants of typical new and existing construction in the Southeast region where the lab is located. ORNL engaged builders, homeowners, researchers, and manufacturers in pursuit of this goal. The journey started in eastern Tennessee when ORNL researchers demonstrated that it is possible to build cost-effective energy-efficient affordable homes using techniques that can be implemented by the existing contractor network. The next challenge was to demonstrate cost-effective energy efficiency in larger, market-appealing homes—2,500 square feet on average. After pushing the cost-effectiveness limit, ORNL researchers and Schaad Companies launched ZEBRAlliance, a public-private partnership designed to achieve two goals. The first goal was to evaluate next-generation technologies and strategies that might generate even deeper energy savings. The second goal was to decide how best to market these technologies and strategies.

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