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:
SRI International will develop a highly efficient, wearable thermal regulation system that leverages the human body’s natural thermal regulation areas such as the palms of the hands, soles of feet, and upper facial area. This innovative “active textile” technology is enabled by a novel combination of low-cost electroactive and passive polymer materials and structures to efficiently manage heat transfer while being quiet and comfortable. SRI’s electronically controllable active textile technology is versatile - allowing the wearer to continue to use their existing wardrobe. We believe that these features will allow for products that augment wearable technologies and thus achieve the widespread adoption needed to save energy on a large scale.
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 HVAC energy consumption by at least 15%.
The heating and cooling of buildings generates about 13% of the U.S. domestic greenhouse gas emissions. With full adoption, DELTA can 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.