Adaptive Textiles Technology
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:
The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) will develop smart responsive garments that enable building occupants to adjust their personal temperature settings and promote thermal comfort to reduce or eliminate the need for building-level air conditioning. The essence of building energy savings in UC San Diego's approach is based on the significant energy consumption reduction from the traditional global cooling/heating of the whole room space. This is done via localized cooling and heating only in the wearable structure in the very limited space near a person’s skin. This smart textile will thermally regulate the garment’s heat transport through changes in thickness and pore architecture by shrinking the textile when hot and expanding it when cold.
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.
The innovations developed under the DELTA program have the potential to increase energy efficiency, improve overall building performance, and reduce residential or commercial HVAC energy consumption by at least 15%.
The heating and cooling of buildings generates about 13% of U.S. domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Through improved utilization of energy produced by fossil fuels with full adoption DELTA could reduce these emission by 2%.
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.
ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Jennifer GerbiProject Contact:
Prof. Joseph Wang
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.govProject Contact Email: