Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices
The projects that comprise ARPA-E's BEETIT program, short for "Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices," are developing new approaches and technologies for building cooling equipment and air conditioners. These projects aim to drastically improve building energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2) at a cost comparable to current technologies.
The demand for air conditioning in homes and work spaces is increasing. New and more efficient cooling methods are needed to reduce building energy consumption and environmental impact. Residential and commercial buildings currently account for 72% of the nation's electricity use and 40% of our CO2 emissions each year, 5% of which comes directly from space cooling and/or air conditioning. In addition, the refrigerants used in air conditioners and space cooling are potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) that may contribute to global climate change. These refrigerants can trap 1,000 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2 alone. Because the overwhelming majority of air conditioning and cooling systems run on electricity, and most U.S. electricity comes from coal-fired power plants which produce CO2, there is a pressing need to support improvements that increase the efficiency of these technologies and reduce the use of GHG refrigerants in the decades to come.
Potential Impact Description:
Increased energy efficiency would decrease U.S. energy demand and reduce reliance on fossil fuels--strengthening America's energy security.
If successful, the acceleration of the research and development of energy efficient cooling technologies provides a tremendous opportunity to reduce energy demand from buildings and reduce GHG emissions.
Refrigerants with polluting emissions could account for up to 10-20% of global warming by the year 2050. Several BEETIT technologies are focused on eliminating the use of these refrigerants.
Widespread adoption of BEETIT technologies could reduce the energy consumption for air conditioning of buildings--providing consumers with cost savings on energy bills.