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Thermoregulatory Clothing System

Cornell University
Thermoregulatory Clothing System for Building Energy Saving
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,996,807
Location: 
Ithaca, NY
Project Term: 
04/27/2015 to 04/26/2018
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) account for 13% of energy consumed in the U.S. and about 40% of the energy used in a typical U.S. residence, making it the largest energy expense for most homes. Even though more energy-efficient HVAC technologies are being adopted in both the commercial and residential sectors, these technologies focus on efficiently heating or cooling large areas and dealing with how the building's net occupancy changes during a day, a week and across seasons. Building operators have to tightly manage temperature for an average occupancy comfort level; but the occupants only occupy a small fraction of the building's interior. There is a critical need for technologies that create localization of thermal management to relax the temperature settings in buildings, reduce the load on HVAC systems and enhance occupant comfort. This is achieved by tailoring the thermal environment around the individual, thus saving energy by not over-heating or over-cooling areas within the building where the occupants do not reside.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Cornell University will develop thermoregulatory apparel that enables the expansion of the comfortable temperature range in buildings by more than 4°F in both heating and cooling seasons. Cornell's thermoregulatory apparel integrates advanced textile technologies and state-of-the-art wearable electronics into a functional apparel design without compromising comfort, wearability, washability, appearance, or safety. The thermoregulatory clothing system senses the wearer's skin temperature and activates a heated or cooled airflow around the individual, reducing the energy required to heat or cool the building itself by satisfying the comfort requirements of the individual.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, DELTA technology could increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions produced by powering traditional HVAC systems, and enable more sustainable heating and cooling architectures for energy-efficient building design.
Security: 
The innovations developed under the DELTA program have the potential to increase energy efficiency, improve overall building performance, and reduce HVAC energy consumption by at least 15%.
Environment: 
The heating and cooling of buildings generates about 13% of the U.S. domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Through improved utilization of energy produced by fossil fuels with full adoption DELTA can reduce these emission by 2%.
Economy: 
DELTA program innovations can help U.S. businesses eventually reduce reliance on tightly controlled building environments, thus enabling radical and sustainable architecture in next generation energy efficient building designs.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Jennifer Gerbi
Project Contact: 
Prof. Jintu Fan
Partners
University of Colorado, Boulder
Release Date: 
12/16/2014