Approved Projects

Projects that have been reviewed by the CalNEXT Program team using our review criteria and accepted by the Program Administrator are listed here. Statuses will be updated at least monthly and Final Reports will be linked when available.

Project Name

Project Number

Technology Area

Type of Project

Status

This study will identify the electrical service requirements for various sizes of foodservice facilities such as quick serve, full service, cafeterias, and hospitality. This will help understand the costs, electrical load requirements, electrical service upgrade costs, and potential electrical load growth for commercial foodservice facilities in CA in converting to all-electric kitchen designs. We would work with market actors such as design/build firms to develop prototype buildings for electrical service requirements.
 
Once the electrical service requirements have been developed for multiple prototype foodservice facilities, cost research will be completed to determine the cost of upgrading electrical service for an all-electric kitchen. Based on the electrical service requirements for the foodservice prototypes, the study will estimate the increased load associated with converting all foodservice facilities in CA to all-electric kitchen designs.

ET22SWE0010

Process Loads

TSR

Complete

AESC proposes a California-focused market study and field demonstration of an all-electric CO2 refrigerant heat pump water heater (HPWH) designed for central systems in commercial and multi-family (MF) buildings. The technology supports electrification strategies, is highly energy efficient, capable of demand response and load shifting through the use of inherent thermal storage, and uses natural CO2 refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP). It can supply hot water up to 195° F and works in low ambient conditions with a modular design allowing up to 16 units to cover capacities from 135,000 to 2,100,000 Btu/h.  
 
The technology is commercially available and was introduced by the manufacturer within the past two years in limited markets, including New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. To date, it has very low market penetration in California with only a handful of new construction projects currently in design. Technology barriers include high up-front costs, lack of product awareness in the design and stakeholder community, and complexities inherent to custom design requirements of large central systems. However, sizing and design barriers are gradually being addressed through tools like Ecotope’s “Ecosizer” https://calbem.ibpsa.us/resources/ecosizer/. This tool can be used for system sizing based on expected loads, building characteristics, and location but is not an energy modeling tool. Thus, it does not correlate with existing regulatory tools like CBECC. However, fundamental research into the performance of these systems in the field is needed to support future updates of CBECC and other building modeling software to accurately integrate central CO2 HPWH products.
 
The study will build on existing research and non-residential HPWH initiatives with a focus on the California market, policies, rate structures, efficiency programs, demand flexibility programs, and market barriers. The field study will evaluate product performance and impacts on energy, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of the technology relative to baseline natural gas as well as load flexibility capabilities in the context of CA rates and the new Total System Benefit (TSB) metric for EE programs. The product will be installed, monitored, and analyzed at two participant MF sites.
 
Based on empirical benefits, study recommendations will focus on targeted strategies for California’s CPUC-funded retrofit and new construction resource programs, the SGIP demand flexibility program, and workforce education and training (WE&T) programs to overcome current barriers and support broad market adoption. For instance, SGIP has a forthcoming load shift incentive offering for water heaters yet no available product has demonstrated that ability. This study will demonstrate real-world central HPWH load shifting capabilities, how they can support the new SGIP goals, and gather information necessary for developing future test and verification protocols.
 
Recommendations for possible technology improvements to optimize benefits and future design iterations will also be explored. If the field study observes less energy, carbon, and load shift impacts than expected, discussions will focus on why results were below expectations and how they can be improved. Conclusions will focus on items such as cost, installation challenges, energy and capacity performance, customer satisfaction, and load-shifting abilities. 

ET22SWE0017

Water Heating, Whole Buildings

TSR

Active

Electrifying the building sector is a critical step toward meeting California’s decarbonization goals. Water heating for food service applications represents 340M therms of gas consumption and thus presents a significant electrification opportunity through the application of heat pump (HP) assistance. For the proposed study we will conduct a market assessment of the potential for the adoption of heat pump-assisted hot water systems (HPaHWS) in food service facilities.  This market assessment will evaluate the total reachable market and the market penetration potential for HPaHWS. We will also address the market barriers and opportunities for the adoption of HPaHWS as they currently exist. This study will occur in three phases: Literature search, Interviews, Numerical data collection, and analysis.

ET22SWE0019

Water Heating

TDR

Active

Building electrification initiatives are resulting in an explosion of electrified heating and cooling (heat pump) systems being installed in residential and commercial buildings. Electrifying the building sector is a critical step toward meeting California’s decarbonization goals; however, the refrigerants used in heat pumps contain greenhouse gases (GHGs) thousands of times more warming than carbon dioxide and even methane. While keeping refrigerant from leaking into the atmosphere is critical for all heat pump applications, large commercial building systems often require extensive field-installed piping and significant refrigerant charge (amount)- a combination that creates high emissions potential. As these heat pumps, increasingly referred to as variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, replace fossil-fuel powered equipment in both new and existing buildings, the potential GHG impact of refrigerant leaks needs to be understood and cost-effective mitigation strategies must be incorporated into building electrification initiatives. In addition to the direct global warming impact of refrigerant leaking into the atmosphere, studies have shown that heat pump systems operating with insufficient refrigerant also consume more energy, contributing to higher electric bills and power generation emissions. This market assessment will provide clarity on the anticipated market adoption of VRF systems, the lifetime GHG emissions potential of those systems if no action is taken, and the mitigation strategies that can be implemented to maximize the environmental, economic, and social benefits of commercial heat pumps. Additionally, the project will build upon and complement the current Commercial VRF Fuel Substitution measure development activity also being performed by Energy Solutions, by bringing in new market study activities including stakeholder engagement and a deeper focus on new system installations. The measure development project is focused on the measured package/work paper for VRFs using newer energy models. It is reevaluating the measure as a prescriptive offering for retrofits or gut rehab/major renovations. With this VRF Refrigerant Management market study, we will review past research and lessons learned to maximize the benefits of the adoption of VRFs by getting ahead of potentially negative issues associated with leaks and/or improper installation and maintenance.

ET22SWE0020

HVAC

TSR

Active

Residential heat pump space conditioning and water heating can greatly reduce energy consumption compared to typical natural gas combustion or electric resistance equipment. Multi-function heat pumps are a product type that uses one efficient outdoor compressor and heat exchanger unit to provide both space conditioning and water heating. Multi-function heat pumps have the potential to increase efficiency and reduce cost compared to typical separate heat pumps for space conditioning and water heating by reducing the number of compressors, recovering waste heat from space cooling to heat water, and eliminating the need for electric resistance backup or defrost heaters.
 
For residential heat pump retrofits, buildings often need electrical service panel upgrades that add cost and delays. Multifunction heat pumps do not need electric resistance backup or strip heaters so they can avoid the need for electrical service panel upgrades in many buildings, reducing costs for most buildings and particularly for older buildings common in California and particularly common in DAC and HTR areas.  
 
Multi-function heat pump products are currently available as custom designs using air-to-water heat pumps with cooling and heating energy carried into the building by water-glycol mixtures, but their adoption is limited by high costs. The UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC) has a PG&E funded emerging technologies project testing a lower cost and potentially higher efficiency air-to-air multi-function heat pump prototype that uses refrigerant to carry cooling and heating energy into the building. Preliminary results show that the prototype has good energy efficiency performance and that it can use waste heat from space cooling to heat hot water.  
 
This proposed technical market characterization project will complete a product search from the largest HVAC and hot water heating equipment manufacturers to identify what residential air-to-air multi-function heat pump products are commercially available or soon to be commercially available in California. This project will be a combination of primary research surveying manufacturers as well as secondary research through literature searches. This project will produce a list of available products and specifications including rated efficiency energy savings estimates compared to mixed fuel and all-electric baselines. This product search will inform future projects to improve equipment design, validate energy efficiency through laboratory and field demonstrations, and determine costs for equipment and installation.

ET22SWE0021

Whole Buildings

TDR

Complete

This California Low-Income Residential Housing Characteristics Study project proposes to address the lack of complete data on housing structures in disadvantaged communities (DAC) and Hard-to-Reach (HTR) single-family residential housing. While high-level data such as the number of homes in DACs and other key demographic and market information (housing age, access to broadband, etc.) can be pulled from census and other research, data on the baseline physical conditions of DAC and HTR homes is lacking (i.e., structural integrity, electrical panel, and wire capacity, and code adherence). This data is foundational to being able to both size the total available market for emerging technologies and develop effective, properly budgeted program pathways to serve and transform these communities. The results will help facilitate the deployment of emerging technologies including heat pump water heaters, heat pump HVAC, smart plug loads, efficient appliances including induction stove-tops, home networking equipment, and other decarbonization measures.
 
The project will leverage past studies and piggyback on existing IOU programs and contractor networks serving CA IOU DAC and HTR communities to perform targeted incremental housing condition data collection. For example, the San Joaquin Valley Disadvantaged Communities Pilot has provided initial data on home readiness for electrification and identified some initial costs needed to ready homes for electrification. The study will also use contractors to conduct in-home survey assessments and identify a home that is ready for electrification and will estimate costs for those homes that require upgrades and or retrofits to allow electrification. We estimate the number of Single Family Homes in California where occupants are low-income to be 3.5 M. (Rayeff, Reem. “Housing Equity & Building Decarbonization in California.” National Resource Defense Council, 2020.) We plan to create a survey for in-depth contractor assessments.
 
This information, analyzed in combination with other data, will be used to inform the scope and nature of barriers to serving DAC and HTR communities with Emerging Technologies efforts and to develop programmatic strategies for helping California achieve its decarbonization and equity goals.

ET22SWE0022

HVAC, Plug Loads & Appliances, Water Heating

TSR

Active

The persistence of Covid-19 and remote work is driving new patterns of variable and unpredictable occupancy in commercial offices, where work flexibility is the new norm and employees may go to the office irregularly or infrequently. In many instances, this may become the new norm. As a result, programmable thermostats and HVAC schedules tuned to regular, consistent occupancy may not necessarily be able to follow these new workplace patterns.
 
The proposed project will assess the use of occupancy sensors in HVAC systems comprising single HVAC unit serving multiple building zones. By installing wireless connected occupancy sensors in each served space of a single system, the sensors can communicate with the system thermostat to shut off the system when all served spaces are unoccupied. For example, this could reduce energy consumption on days when teams are working from home, during lunchtime hours, or Fridays when many businesses offer modified work hours as an employee benefit. The technology can be used in both new and existing construction. For existing construction, occupancy-based thermostat will replace or be added onto existing thermostat that controls the single-zone HVAC unit. The thermostat can work with any type of single-zone HVAC units, which are typically constant speed units.
 
The proposed project will measure the impacts of this technology in two California office building host sites. In each building, half of the HVAC units studied will have occupancy-based thermostats installed as the treatment group while the other half will serve as the control group without occupancy sensor feedback. In addition to overall energy savings potential, the study will evaluate potential energy impacts during the summer 4-9 pm period which is being targeted for peak load reduction programs statewide. The study will also perform secondary market research on workplace occupancy patterns, determine the total available commercial market for this technology, identify the landscape of compatible enabling occupancy sensor technologies, perform field energy impact measurements, and survey host site employees to assess occupant comfort impacts.

ET22SWE0023

HVAC

TSR

Complete

The proposed project is to develop an energy modeling framework based on OpenStudio, EnergyPlus, and ancillary analysis tools that solves previously identified shortcomings of existing grocery refrigeration analysis tools. A modeling “framework” is defined as all software packages, files, and scripts necessary to run the defined analysis within a given set of parameters. OpenStudio is designed specifically for software integration and this work forms the first step towards the development of a software analysis tool to address previously identified gaps. Additionally, VEIC will perform sensitivity analysis and validation on the OpenStudio modeling framework to ensure it appropriately represents the target project population. This proposed project would support the recommendations identified in the SCE Report – June 2021 –  ET18SCE7080 Next-Generation, Low-GWP Refrigeration Systems: Tool Assessment and Market Impacts. This report characterized refrigerant options for grocery/supermarkets in California and how to phase out Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants to be replaced by those with a lower Global-Warming Potential (GWP). It identifies potential energy modeling platforms as they apply to refrigerant upgrades in grocery stores and supermarkets and provides the advantages and shortcomings of those modeling tools. This project would be the first step to advance the market’s ability to easily model low-GWP refrigerant systems in commercial applications in support of utility programs by proposing a validation study to improve and adapt OpenStudio tools to specifically serve CA and low-GWP refrigeration systems. The validation study would prove the concept and build the underlying assumptions and automation capabilities that could then form the backbone of a refrigeration tool for CA. Ultimately, if the tool proceeds to development in a subsequent project, the intent would be to develop an easy-to-use tool for grocery stores of all sizes, including independent grocers that tend to serve DAC/HTR communities.

ET22SWE0025

Process Loads

TSR

Active

This project will test GoPowerEV, a new electric vehicle (EV) charging solution designed to provide access to charging in existing multifamily buildings with limited electrical capacity. GoPowerEV’s combination of power-sharing capabilities, built-in load shifting, scalability, and affordable turnkey subscription model is unique in the market and provides an ideal charging solution for existing multifamily properties, including hard-to-reach (HTR) customers and disadvantaged communities (DACs) where affordability and ease-of-use is essential. This project will deploy GoPowerEV in at least four multifamily sites to test the ability of the technology to maximize EV charging access while meeting driver charging needs.

This emerging technology directly supports the high-priority electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) TPM technology family and will deliver significant energy savings. The baseline scenario for EV charging is full-power unmanaged 240V Level 2 charging – this is typically the standard in building codes and in IOU EVSE programs. A baseline Level 2 charger typically requires a dedicated 40A circuit and delivers power up to 7.68 kW (Level 2 can range from 3kW to 19kW of AC output and the actual power delivery depends on the vehicle being charged, but 7.68 kW is a common size). In this baseline scenario, unmanaged L2 chargers provide power to EVs when they first plug in. Per the DOE, the vast majority of aggregate EV demand is driven by home charging and a typical unmanaged EV charging load curve results in a peak in the late afternoon and early evening. At a multifamily site, providing even ten units with L2 EV charging would require 400 amps of capacity and add 76.8 kW peak load to the customer’s bill and local distribution system. GoPowerEV provides the following energy benefits over a Level 2 baseline installation:

  • Energy savings: Each GoPowerEV base includes three ports, replacing multiple separate Level 2 EVSE units from another manufacturer and thereby reducing standby power from inactive units.
  • Demand savings: GoPowerEV both flattens the EV charging load curve and shifts demand to off-peak hours. Average vehicle dwell time at multifamily buildings is typically in excess of 12 hours, but the average charging window is far less. In fact, the average daily vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for Californians is under 40 miles – this amount of range can be delivered by a L2 charger in under two hours and a Level 1 charger in just over seven hours. GoPowerEV’s Level 1 ports deliver the same amount of range over the course of a single dwell period but cut the peak demand by 4x. GoPowerEV also shifts the charging window to off-peak hours such that the kWh consumption and kW demand occurs after the 4-9pm peak period. At just one relatively small multifamily site with six chargers (the minimum proposed for this pilot), that would provide a demand savings of over 46 kW.
  • Lower system costs: GoPowerEV’s use of circuit-sharing and panel-sharing technology reduces the capacity needs on site and demand impacts on the grid, lowering both behind-the-meter installation costs and service upgrades and local distribution system improvements. This allows GoPowerEV to provide the same consumer benefits as the L2 baseline (kWh to support daily driving needs) with far less cost to the electric distribution system and ratepayers.

 

GoPowerEV’s customer base is primarily existing multifamily buildings, which are underserved by much of the EVSE market. Full-power networked Level 2 or Level 3 solutions, such as ChargePoint, EVgo, or others, typically use too much power to provide more than a handful of ports at a multifamily site without requiring significant (and expensive) infrastructure upgrades. More direct competitors are Level 1 “smart outlet” products such as Plugzio and Orange Charger. Energy Solutions has conducted a pilot for Peninsula Clean Energy deploying these solutions, and while they are dramatically more cost-effective than traditional Level 2 solutions they still do not leverage the panel-sharing or circuit-sharing capabilities of GoPowerEV. Energy Solutions has evaluated the market for automated load management system (ALMS) EVSE, both for PCE and independently, and while some solutions offer circuit-sharing (ex: NeoCharge), panel-sharing (ex: DCC), or networked powe management (ex: EverCharge), GoPowerEV is the only product to combine all of these features. This has the potential to maximize the access to EV charging within a constrained electrical environment like a multifamily building.

GoPowerEV has begun initial conversations with SCE to raise awareness of its product capabilities and discuss inclusion in SCE’s larger EVSE programs including Multifamily Charge Ready. However, GoPowerEV is not on the approved vendor list and there is no current timeline for its inclusion. Moreover, there are zero Level 1 products currently approved for SCE’s light-duty EVSE rebates, and SCE’s Multifamily Turn-Key Installation Program requires Level 2 products. As a “smart outlet” providing both Level 1 and Level 2 capabilities, GoPowerEV is very different from the products SCE and other IOUs have traditionally included in rebate programs. This CalNEXT pilot provides an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the ability of GoPowerEV and similar products to meet multifamily EV driver needs. This will provide valuable information that the market and IOUs can use if they choose to help determine how to best address EV charging access in multifamily properties.

ET22SWE0026

Plug Loads & Appliances

TDR

Active

Supplemental lighting in greenhouses uses significant electricity, and lighting controls that regulate supplemental lighting based on the amount of natural light available should be encouraged in the market. This project would extend a study currently being done by PG&E on the potential for adaptive daylight controls to save energy in commercial greenhouses. The site has already produced six months of data which suggests that in winter months, the technology could reduce energy costs by 25%-35% and the payback period could be as short as two months. This project could be completed this year and would be extremely cost effective because it would leverage a large amount of existing work. Should results continue to be promising, CalNEXT would have the option to expand the study to more sites and crops to support a potential measure package.

Although initial results from the ongoing study are highly promising, that study only includes one site with a single crop and will have little data on impact to crop yield and quality. This is due to the extreme difficulty of enrolling sites. The lack of proof for the technology is itself the main barrier to collecting proof. Extending the current study into December could generate enough proof of effectiveness to greatly reduce this barrier.

The research questions that this study would answer by December 2022 would be:
a. At the specific site where advanced lighting controls were installed for the PG&E study, what is the likely payback period?
b. What further research would be needed to address key grower concerns about this technology, such as ease of use and potential effects on quality and yield?

ET22SWE0027

Lighting

TSR

Active

AESC and ASK Energy propose a California-focused field demonstration and market assessment of a packaged, modular, all-electric CO2 centralized heat pump water heater with load shift capabilities designed for commercial and multi-family buildings. The proposed technology supports electrification strategies, load shifting, energy efficiency goals, and uses natural CO2 refrigerants with low global warming potential. Of particular interest is the packaged product’s potential for reducing equipment and design costs, specialized knowledge requirements, project timelines, and implementation complexity over equivalent custom, site-built products. A fully plug-and-play system eliminates the custom engineering and on-site construction, demonstrating what would be an invaluable industry transition. The onboard load shifting controls are also a novel addition in comparison to existing centralized heat pump water heater products and studies.

The skid-mounted, packaged product comprises multiple heat pump water heaters in series, storage and swing tanks, backup electric resistance elements, recirculation pumping, and all necessary controls and connection points. A primary and optional secondary skid can each serve up to 50 residential occupants with domestic hot water up to 160 °F and operate in ambient conditions down to -14 °F. The product supplies hot water for domestic use and currently does not have any design features for hydronic heating or exhaust capture for space cooling load offset, but could be of interest in future study. The product is well-suited to both retrofit and new construction applications although care needs to be given to electrical supply capacity, weight bearing structures, and other details which may be more costly in retrofit conditions. This is a brand new, first-of-its-kind product and has no to-date market adoption in California or otherwise.

The new packaged solution is being installed at the first two sites in the California Bay Area in early 2023, both of which will be monitored and evaluated for this study. Two new construction, multifamily buildings in San Francisco have already been selected and product production is underway. Currently, no M&V, performance assessment, or load shifting testing is planned or funded. The proposed study will add these important research features to the planned project, leveraging the planned installation for emerging technology research purposes. Monitoring instrumentation will be installed at the product level (at the HPWH rather than at residences or end-uses) at all relevant points including input power, ambient conditions, and hot/return/make-up water temperatures and flows. This M&V will allow for assessment of the system performance, load patterns, energy usage, and other key features necessary for informing market actors and programmatic design. All M&V data used in the analysis will be after HPWH commissioning and current project timelines suggest that commissioning will be completed before M&V instrumentation installation.

Since this is a new construction project, baseline energy usage will be calculated based on the observed load profiles and assumed code or representative baseline alterative (most likely central gas-fired). All project costs, including necessary electric service and panel upgrades, will be documented for evaluation of cost-effectiveness. Load shifting controls and abilities will also be tested either via manual tests or with load shift signals from the local utility. Whole building energy and demand will also be collected from utility metering to provide context to load shift capabilities and magnitudes. Monitoring data will be collected at intervals of 15-minutes or less and analyzed at the smallest interval necessary for accurate regression and energy cost analyses. Results will be presented for both raw, small intervals and consolidated at larger intervals for ease of visualization.

Although the technology will be studied in situ at new construction buildings, many of the findings will be extrapolated to existing building retrofit applications. Retrofit applications are critical since they comprise the vast majority of the market opportunity. Since load profiles are very consistent and predictable in the multifamily sector, energy, demand, and GHG savings can be determined for retrofit situations, assuming a code or market-representative baseline condition. Costs and feasibility differences between new construction and existing buildings will be evaluated, but since the product is a factory-built, packaged solution, similar cost-effectiveness and feasibility is expected. Other influential differences between new construction and retrofit applications and their impacts on cost-effectiveness, performance, or programs will be evaluated.

The study will build on existing research and initiatives for HPWH for the non-residential market, with a focus on the California market, policies, rate structures, efficiency and demand flexibility programs, and market barriers, and opportunities. The field study will evaluate product performance and energy, cost, and GHG impacts of the technology relative to baseline natural gas water heaters at one or two non-residential sites, as well as load flexibility capabilities in the context of CA rates, new SGIP offerings, and the new Total System Benefit (TSB) metric for EE programs. The market evaluation will build upon past research particularly by focusing on the packaged aspects of the product in comparison to custom site-built CO2 central heat pump water heaters. Study recommendations will focus on strategies for retrofit and new construction resource programs, workforce education and training programs, and how packaged solutions can address market barriers and challenges associated with current available CHPWH solutions.

ET22SWE0028

Water Heating, Whole Buildings

TSR

Active

AESC proposes a market evaluation study of solar assisted heat pumps, a technology that promises to provide supplemental, carbon-free heating to any variable-speed pump air conditioner in the 2-ton to 10-ton range – and thus is applicable to residential split heat pumps and small commercial split and packaged heat pumps. The technology uses solar thermal energy to offset a portion of the thermal energy input to the refrigeration cycle that would normally be generated by the compressor. The technology usually consists of variable speed compressor, solar thermal collector, condenser, evaporator, and often combined with water heating that includes a storage tank. Depending on how much heat the solar radiation can provide, the compressor work is reduced accordingly.

Prior studies modeling technical performance have indicated a high potential for savings (10-14%) and one field study led to inconclusive results with the recommendation to conduct further testing in more targeted climate regions. Prior to funding additional field studies, the proposed market study will assess the market for commercial and pre-commercial technologies and manufacturers, assess the market size, opportunities, barriers, and feasibility, and will recommend specific field tests targeting climate zones that have the highest potential based on existing data.

ET22SWE0030

HVAC

TDR

Complete

California’s approximately 500 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) within the IOU territories offer utilities significant untapped potential for process-based energy savings and load optimization related to both existing operations and planned expansions and capital investments. One key driver of near-term capital investments is related to California’s SB1383 Landfill Diversion legislation compliance. As of 2025, in an effort to limit short-lived climate pollutants, wastewater treatment plants in California will be prohibited from trucking biosolid sludge to dumps in regional landfills. With a pending compliance deadline, impacted plants are currently considering the costs and benefits of various compliance solutions, which can include investment in onsite biosolids management technologies and strategies, complete plant redesigns required to achieve targeted levels of sludge moisture content and treatment, and regional collaborative concepts. Each of these compliance solutions comes with significant energy, cost, carbon and non-energy implications and trade-offs that are not well understood by plants, especially understaffed small, medium and rural agencies, and those in disadvantaged communities.

Certain promising emerging technologies for SB1383 compliance appear to offer significant energy and carbon reduction benefits over more typical strategies but have near zero market penetration and would benefit from further study. However, an up-to-date baseline characterization of compliance strategies is required in order to properly size the market, understand baseline strategies under consideration for various types of WWTP, and to enable future savings claims for new ET measures that support compliance.

AESC proposes to perform a characterization of the various SB1383 compliance solutions under consideration or in planning by California’s WWT plants of various sizes and operational characteristics. AESC will work with industry partners and solutions providers to classify compliance strategies by plant size, treatment type, and other key drivers/limitations, and characterize each in terms of relative energy consumption, DR and load management potential and fit, biogas generation/cogeneration impacts, carbon impacts, trucking/transportation impacts, and other co-benefits (creation of beneficial byproducts, etc).

Based on the results, a survey and sampling plan will be developed to deploy to a cross section of California’s plants to assess baseline compliance strategies being contemplated by plants. These baseline findings will serve to prioritize technology focus areas, highest priority emerging technologies, establish savings and market size potential, and inform future measure and workpaper savings estimates and claims. A secondary project deliverable will be a decision support tool matrix/and or model that classifies energy and non-energy implications related to various compliance pathway choices. This can be used by utility account representatives, WWTP, design firms, cities, regional collaboratives and consultants in the near term as an aid to help agencies understand energy and non -energy implications of compliance pathways. The matrix will be organized by size and treatment typology, and will include targeted information for rural, hard-to-reach agencies that can be distributed through specific identified project partner networks that work in California’s most remote and rural regions.

ET22SWE0031

Process Loads

TSR

Active

With nearly a third of California’s low-income households living in large (5+ unit) multifamily housing, electrifying and deploying advanced electric technologies to this portion of the housing stock is critical to reaching the state’s goals for equitable climate action. Formulating policies and programs tailored to this segment’s specific housing characteristics is critical to achieving speed and scale in building electrification, yet there is a gap in statewide data on the characteristics of low-income multifamily housing. This project proposes to conduct a Low-Income Multifamily Housing Characteristics Study by analyzing Census data (e.g., American Housing Survey (AHS), American Community Survey (ACS)) and other public data sources (e.g., Low-Income Energy Affordability (LEAD) Tool, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)), gathering input from existing electrification and solar programs, and targeted direct data collection to fill this gap. In addition to more general market characterization, the study will address factors known to be key barriers to electrification in multifamily housing, such as the need for electrical system upgrades (e.g., wiring, circuit panels, service lines), space constraints, and existing water distribution system issues. The study will address both subsidized and “naturally occurring” affordable housing.

ET22SWE0033

HVAC, Water Heating, Whole Buildings

TSR

Active

Indirect evaporative cooling can provide cooling at much higher efficiency in California climates compared to the vapor compression cooling systems currently used in most buildings. In the past, these indirect evaporative cooling systems have been add-ons to roof top packaged units, have required mechanical system designers to be familiar with the systems to correctly design and size the equipment, have required additional controls design, and were more cost-effective only for larger systems. This Hybrid Heat Pump and Indirect Evaporative Cooling Packaged Unit is a single piece of equipment packaged retrofit for typical roof top packaged units in the most common size ranges for small commercial buildings with simple installation and no custom design work required for sizing or controls. This Hybrid RTU equipment is designed to have similar weight and size as typical high efficiency RTU equipment reducing barriers to adoption. This project will laboratory test the production-ready prototype version and produce performance curves that can be used to model and estimate energy savings across many different climates and building types. This technology is not yet commercially available, it is in the advanced prototype stage and getting ready to be mass produced by a large manufacturer. The heat pump is sized to meet the heating requirements for the packaged unit rated capacity and has the typical electric resistance heaters for defrost and to provide supplemental heat if outdoor temperatures are extremely low.

ET22SWE0034

HVAC

TDR

Active

VEIC proposes to conduct a market study to assess the market opportunity and technology performance of variable speed, high-efficiency in-unit/window heat pumps in multifamily buildings for use for direct replacement of inefficient window and packaged terminal air conditioning (PTAC) units for California multifamily buildings. Additional design options including low-GWP refrigerants, defined in the NY/CEE specifications targeting this opportunity as R-32 and CO2, will also be assessed. The 2021 NY Clean Heat for All Challenge RFP included low GWP refrigerants as an optional criteria – not a requirement – for manufacturer window heat pumps. Our market study would assess the adoption, availability, costs and impact (energy and GWP) of low GWP heat pump models compatible with multifamily in-unit applications.The project will define and quantify the potential opportunity for this technology in California through detailed analysis and building energy modeling as the first step to look for opportunities to bring these new, alternative clean heating and cooling electric technologies into the energy efficiency and demand-side management programs. Baseline and high efficiency measure research will include 120V and 240V supply equipment, as well as in-wall configurations. Throughout this project we will review the growing knowledge about these products by coordinating closely with national and other state-wide initiatives and California programs such as TECH Clean CA, Building Initiative for Low-Emissions Development (BUILD) Program, CA Market Transformation Program, and the EPIC grant program in which the San Francisco based Treau, Inc. received an EPIC grant for their Gradient system development which now is available for pre-order. Additional vendors will include Midea, who along with Treau was selected through the NY Clean Heat for All Challenge, as well as other window and alternative in- wall manufacturers (e.g. Ephoca) identified in the initial project market research.

ET22SWE0035

HVAC

TSR

Active

Currently, incentives for energy efficient water heater retrofits require a like-for-like replacement. However, there is anecdotal evidence that contractors upsize heat pump water heater replacements relative to existing gas water heaters. This project adds to current statewide water heating measure offerings by allowing incentives for non-like-for-like size replacements. Heat pump water heaters consume very minimal energy compared to alternatives. The larger the tank, the larger the possible thermal battery and load shifting potential rendering restrictions on incentives based on tank size counter-productive. The expected outcome of this project is a more energy efficient installed base of residential water heaters. This project provides the new analysis and data required to support a future water heating measure package development effort that will deliver the expected outcome. We will utilize data from existing fuel substitution workpaper development and an existing CPUC-approved water heater energy use calculator with prototype buildings and various water heater sizes to model energy consumption across the CA climate zones. There is no need for a unitary heat pump sizing tool, only like-for-like baselines for savings claims. In addition, we will conduct a survey of contractors to quantify the impact of the proposed offering. These data will support the measure package.

ET22SWE0036

Water Heating

TSR

Complete

This project will evaluate new applications of aerosol sealing, a product used to seal buildings primiarily in new construction, to sealing in existing homes. Previous studies have shown that half of the leakage in new California homes occurs through the attic so addressing leakage at the attic floor has a significant potential to reduce total envelope leakage. A recently completed demonstration as part of a DOE Building America project showed very encouraging results when applying an aerosol sealing technology to an existing attic. Three apartments were sealed by an average of 55% when the aerosol sealing technology was deployed from the attic space. Only the attic floor is sealed allowing the attic to remain ventilated and avoiding any potential issues with condensation that occur in a fully sealed attic. This was compared to two other sealing approaches including traditional manual sealing with foam and an elastomeric sealant which achieved 14% and 26% reductions, respectively. In the past, utilization of aerosol envelope sealing was limited to new construction or major retrofit situations. A key advantage of applying the aerosol from the attic is that there is not noticeable deposition of sealant on surfaces inside the home so surface protection requirements are minimal. In the three applications performed, no prep to interior surfaces was performed, reducing the time and cost for sealing and opening up the market to sealing occupied homes. While the tenants do need to leave the home for a couple of hours during the aerosol injection, the process is much less invasive than other retrofit applications of aerosol sealing and is not harmful to occupants. This project will demonstrate the cost and performance of an attic upgrade that includes upgrading existing insulation combined with aerosol-sealing of the attic-to-home leakage in residential building types typically found in disadvantaged communities. The previous study demonstrating this technique was limited to three apartments and this study is needed to demonstrate in single family homes and evaluate performance across more sites.

ET22SWE0037

Whole Buildings

TDR

Active

This project is an open source supervisory control technology development and demonstration of ASHRAE Guideline 36 (G36), ASHRAE 2021.

The promise of G36 is that the standardization of the sequence of operations (SOO) allows manufacturers to program and centrally test the control logic and then distribute to installers. This approach reduces cost and the risk of errors inherent in the current practice. Designers can specify G36 rather than write their own SOO. Installers can draw from a library of G36 control logic options rather than program their own logic. G36 can minimize functional testing, as the logic will be pre-programmed at the factory.

Two buildings have been selected for the study that have supervisory control hardware and software platforms in place. These platforms utilize Control Description Language (CDL) for documenting and implementing control logic. The Brick schema is an open-source effort to standardize descriptions of physical and logical assets in buildings and the relationships between them. CDL and the Brick schema together enable the testing and implementation of ASHRAE G36 standardized sequences of operations. To execute the project plan, we will establish a baseline of HVAC system performance and energy consumption, implement the new control sequences, and then perform measurement and verification to document the expected savings.

Although ASHRAE Guideline 36 was recently released, it has been in development for a number of years. This project builds on ongoing efforts to document the positive impact that implementing G36 can have on existing and new commercial buildings in CA. We have recruited a major contributor to ASHRAE Guideline 36 (Taylor Engineers) as well as leading Brick schema researchers (University of California, Berkeley ‘s Center for the Built Environment ) to serve on the project team.

ET22SWE0039

HVAC

TSR

Active

The High Efficiency Dehumidification System (HEDS) technology of interest is a new and patented technology developed in Southern California with energy savings potential for air handlers with chilled water cooling and hot water reheat. The technology was first developed to address dehumidification issues but has evolved to include and leverage energy efficiency benefits. The technology reduces loads on both the chiller and reheat water source by expanding dehumidification and reheat coils, lowering chilled water flows, and utilizing dehumidification coil outlet flow for reheat purposes. This saves energy over the typical baselined design that has separate dedicated, higher flow chilled water and hot water coils.

The technology supports decarbonization and electrification by eliminating the natural gas consumption common in hot water reheat systems (an important component of dehumidification) while also reducing energy consumption at the chiller. The dehumidification aspects also make the technology a good candidate for providing superior protection against COVID and other airborne viruses. The technology is commercially available and most applicable to buildings with humidity concerns such as hospitals, commercial kitchens, museums, and prisons. However, it can be installed at any facility with single duct system with reheat that is often applied in large commercial buildings, public sector facilities, high schools, and universities.

ET22SWE0040

HVAC

TSR

Active

Variable air volume (VAV) HVAC systems dominate the commercial building market but have widely varying performance, with a well-documented performance gap between best-practice and typical operation. Two recent studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the California Energy Commission (CEC) reported a wide variation in energy performance for various typical supply air temperature (SAT) reset strategies (4-15% variation in HVAC energy). Existing SAT reset strategies have three inherent deficiencies that explain the lack of market uptake and sub-optimal real world energy performance: (1) they include simplifications and assumptions about SAT and total HVAC energy cost, (2) they require tuning of key parameters whose optimal values differ for every building and vary over the life of the building, and (3) there is no easy way to determine what those optimal settings are and whether tuning is improving savings or not. CORE (Cost Optimized Reset), a new cost-responsive supply air temperature reset open-source solution for multi-zone variable air volume systems, addresses these problems. This solution applies to the majority of the time that a building is occupied. In a VAV reheat system (the focus of this study), the air handler provides cooling most of the time, with zones providing heating where-needed. The open-source SAT reset solution developed by this research team could be deployed through two different paths: 1) the traditional path of a native building automation system (BAS) and 2) a third-party solution such as a microcontroller or a cloud based solution that integrates with an existing BAS. CORE dynamically estimates the energy cost of operating an air handling unit at its current supply air temperature setpoint, as well as slightly higher and lower setpoints. It does this using existing instrumentation commonplace in these systems. Using this information, along with the current approximate cost of electricity, chilled water, and hot water, we can dynamically estimate the cost of fan, cooling, and reheat energy at each setpoint. The algorithm then chooses the lowest cost operating point every 5 minutes, continually moving in the direction of least cost while adjusting to the changes occurring dynamically within the building, while ensuring that comfort conditions are maintained. CORE offers greater value over existing solutions because: (a) it uses existing sensors and hardware typically installed in modern VAV systems, (b) in contrast to far more complex model predictive control solutions, it is simple enough to be implemented either within the existing building automation system’s logic, or in an independent controller, and (c) it adjusts automatically to operational or weather-related changes in the building over time to directly minimize energy cost. CORE offers benefit to building owners, building operators (who will see improved occupant comfort and will spend less time and money troubleshooting), BAS manufacturers, third-party vendors, and other stakeholders. In this project, the research team will implement CORE at multiple test sites and determine energy savings.

ET22SWE0042

HVAC

TSR

Active

One of the greatest underutilized opportunities for energy savings in buildings through retrofits and retro-commissioning is optimized HVAC system sequence of operations (SOO). A recent EPIC Best In Class research project funded by the California Energy Commission showed that implementation of standardized SOO in building automation systems (BAS) represents significant, cost-effective energy savings opportunities compared to typical practice and ensures long-term optimized performance and persistence of energy savings. Field implementation results in six nonresidential building types yielded 12-60% HVAC energy savings.

Standardized and optimized control sequences for HVAC systems have been developed and published by ASHRAE. Field validation of these control sequences in new construction and during major control upgrades confirms that significant and cost-effective energy savings outcomes are possible compared to typical practice. However, this work also revealed a variety of compatibility barriers when applied to existing control system hardware and the SOO have not been validated across a full range of physical conditions and building types.

Utility program services and incentives play a crucial part in driving the market adoption of standardized HVAC SOO. While today a standardized HVAC SOO retrofit may be able to receive an incentive under a custom program, prescriptive programs are easier for the implementer (and the applicant) because savings algorithms and data inputs are pre-approved and the process is streamlined. Before an energy conservation measure can be introduced to a prescriptive incentive program, the baseline assumptions, calculation methodology, equipment useful life, incremental costs, and other measure attributes must be well established and typically published in a Technical Reference Manual (TRM) or technology workpaper. These protocols then serve as the basis for many aspects of program design, including the establishment of program eligibility criteria, incentive levels, measure cost-effectiveness pre-screening, and program reporting, among others. This process ensures that prescriptive programs are aligned with the requirements set by state regulators, and they utilize a set of pre-approved, standardized measurement and verification (M&V) approaches for claiming savings.

Retrofitting existing HVAC system controls to a standardized SOO has great potential for energy savings in buildings. However, it is difficult and therefore costly to accurately estimate the energy savings of the control retrofits. Therefore, energy savings and an incentive-estimating tool is needed that can quickly assess the value of a potential retrofit before embarking on project design will reduce barriers to identifying promising retrofit sites.

This project will establish energy savings estimates through simulation of a standardized HVAC SOO covering a variety of existing conditions in a variety of building types in California. First, we will use simulations to determine the control optimization measures with the most potential impact on energy savings. Second, we will develop an energy savings calculator to estimate energy savings using site-specific conditions and parameters. Third, we will develop supporting materials required for the development of a TRM/workpaper.

ET22SWE0043

HVAC

TSR

Active

The laboratory evaluation of a commercial, whole-building, integrated control system project aims to achieve whole-building energy and demand reduction, load flexibility, improved occupant comfort, and reductions in control system installation costs by integrating control of multiple building systems via a building automation system (BAS). The proposed project plans to assess the performance of a fully retrofitted University owned building equipped with an off-the-shelf, programmable BAS capable of integrating and controlling a wide-range of addressable subsystems including a networked lighting system, thermostats, window shades, plug-load receptacles, electric water heaters, and operable casement windows. The BAS relies on environmental sensors that monitor indoor illuminance, temperature, carbon dioxide, particulate mass of multiple pollutants, air quality index and relative humidity to make appropriate control decisions for each connected subsystem. The BAS sequence of operations (SOP), which governs the overall building control algorithm, is designed to reduce energy use through real-time environmental monitoring combined with environmentally dependent and forecasted energy management strategies such as occupancy-based setbacks for HVAC systems and HVAC load shifting using nightly precooling enabled by the actuated windows.

For this project, the research team will be using an existing building on UC Davis campus called The Barn (home to the Institute for the Environment or IE (or Institute for the Environment). This building is already equipped with an extensive BAS including networked lighting, HVAC, ventilation and shading systems. The evaluation area within the office space consists of 12 private offices and 1 shared work space with a total of 2,000 sqft of floor space. The proposed project will expand the building’s existing BAS control scope to include plug loads and water heating by installing controlled receptacles and an addressable, electric water heater. These additions aligns with California’s electrification goals and recent updates to the state’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards requirements.

ET22SWE0044

Whole Buildings

TSR

Active

A new energy-saving product called an air management system (AMS) has been developed as a drop-in replacement for compressed air filter-regulator-lubricator (FRL) assemblies. The AMS saves energy by reducing pressure to large pneumatic end-uses during idling and cutting off air supply during extended downtime. This saves energy by eliminating leak loads in complicated machinery that are otherwise unlikely to be addressed. Therefore, the product may be well-suited to production facilities with large, custom pneumatic end-uses that have intermittent usage such as food processing, packaging, paper products, and pharmaceutical industries. The product also has inherent air data collection capabilities that can be integrated into monitoring software or cloud services to improve overall plant management and compressed air system optimization.

The project will independently test the AMS at one or two sites to measure the impacts, cost-effectiveness, user acceptance, and installation feasibility of the product. Full M&V adhering to IPMVP protocols of the compressed air supply equipment and impacted end-uses will provide data for energy, demand, and cost savings analysis. Monitoring will establish baseline and post-intervention periods for a comprehensive evaluation of the product and statewide extrapolation to other conditions.

The findings will help address market barriers to the product, allow for manufacturer improvements, and determine best use cases. It will also provide valuable data for possible future development of controls products that integrate end-use data into compressor room controls. The product has large potential for utility benefits and programs in both new construction and retrofit applications in the difficult-to-address compressed air market base of the industrial sector. The study will evaluate per-unit savings as well as statewide potential, market conditions, and program recommendations for the encouragement of market adoption.

ET22SWE0045

Process Loads, Whole Buildings

TSR

Active

This field demonstration project in a full service restaurant involves pre-retrofit energy monitoring of existing domestic hot water systems, the installation of single-pass air-source heat pumps (HPs) and other efficiency measures, and post-monitoring of optimized systems. Hot water is primarily used for sanitation purposes in commercial kitchens. A 2013 study (CEC-500-2013-050) by Fisher-Nickel Inc. estimated gas-load for domestic hot water (DHW) in foodservice at 340 million therms per year across 85,500 facilities. This project intends to demonstrate the energy savings potential from shifting the primary hot water energy load from the existing gas-fired or electric resistance heaters to high-efficiency HPs. Load flexibility measures via controls will be utilized to operate only at off-peak periods between 9pm to 4pm to minimize restaurant operating cost and maximize grid benefits to California. Any potential operating cost increase from switching from primary gas heating to electric in a restaurant will be offset with sensible efficiency measures on the distribution system (e.g., addition of master mixing valves) and end-use equipment (e.g. heat recovery dishmachine). If possible, we will try to perform additional testing to isolate the energy savings impact of heat-recovery dish machine and the master mixing valve.

This proposed HP retrofit ‘add-on’ project will, by design, keep the existing water heater in place to serve a much lower heat load and serve as a backup, so as not to trigger health department review. Positioning this project as a retrofit add-on versus replacement or new build application has other benefits as well, since it removes a lot of risk associated with design, operation, maintenance, and operating cost. The HP and storage tank do not have to be sized to meet the winter design day load and handle the high variability in daily hot water use in this segment. This mitigates the space requirements and electrical panel capacity issues that are common in existing buildings.

ET22SWE0046

Water Heating

TSR

Active

The California Plumbing and Energy Codes do not mandate master mixing valves (MMV) for temperature control of domestic hot water (DHW) recirculation systems. Prior lab or field studies has not investigated the energy savings potential of MMV in recirculation systems. While some applications such as large multifamily buildings, elder care facilities and other applications may require the use of mixing valves for health and safety reasons, there are many applications where DHW recirculation systems have been installed without the use of MMV. The study will install high performance MMV, known as electronic or digital master mixing valves (DMMV) that are designed for use with operation of recirculation loops and handle the dynamic nature of variable flow water draws downstream at the point-of-use. They also may have additional monitoring, remote adjustment and other components and controls built in depending on the manufacturer and model. They are much more advanced than the conventional wax type thermostatic mechanical master mixing valve (MMMV) and various other thermostatic/mechanical types available on the market, many of which were not designed or rated for operation of variable water draw distribution systems with recirculation return loop. This project is a field study of DMMV installation in commercial gas-fired and electric HP-based DHW systems that do not have existing MMV. The five sites will include restaurants, supermarkets, cafeterias, office buildings, multifamily buildings, fitness/recreational centers, and laundry.

ET22SWE0047

Water Heating

TSR

Active

Water heating for food service applications represents 340M therms of gas consumption in California, and thus presents a significant opportunity for electrification, as well as significant efficiency improvements in retrofits and new construction applications. Public-facing design guides specific to improving hot water heating, delivery, and use in commercial kitchens are critical to restaurant operators, system designers, and other relevant audiences. 

The current reference for design of commercial kitchen hot water systems in CA (Improving Commercial Kitchen Hot Water System Performance, 2010) is undergoing a 2022 revision. In this project, we will develop enhancements to the 2022 guide incorporating several advanced concepts including:

  1. Addition of gas or electric HP assist concept and energy efficiency benefits versus conventional gas and electric heaters
  2. A comparison of conventional gas and electric designs, compared to an optimized design
  3. Electric and gas HP types and energy efficiency benefits
  4. Heat pump incorporation considerations (e.g., ducting, noise, space, weight, and extra storage)
  5. Single pass electric HP based designs such as the swing tank concept and parallel primary and temperature maintenance systems
  6. The concept of heat pump ‘assist’
  7. Health department sizing considerations for heat pumps
  8. Benefits of master mixing valves (for example: improvements in single-pass reliability when the recirculation return is plumbed to the primary storage tank)

For the proposed project, we will create an enhanced design guide intended for general audiences such as restaurant operators, with an added focus on heat pump (HP) considerations and concepts tailored to these audiences. We will also develop a technical design guide for a designer audience to help guide commercial kitchen designers and DHW system designers toward creating efficient and optimized systems.

The advanced design approaches outlined in the Design Guides produced by this project will reduce the majority of existing gas use for water heating by shifting the primary heating load responsibility to electric air-source commercial heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps operate at system coefficient of performance (COP) near 3 in this application while the existing heater is retained for regulatory requirements, redundancy, and maintaining the loop temperature with recirculation pumps. On-peak versus off-peak usage and demand management across equipment types will both be addressed in the load flexibility section of the design guide.

To supplement these guides, we will develop a slide deck accompanied by audio. To improve reach and language accessibility, both design guides will be translated into Spanish.

ET22SWE0048

Water Heating

TSR

Active

The proposed project evaluates the current state and anticipated future of Residential Energy and Automation (REA) systems. REA systems are a new category of residential appliances that combine the features of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS). HEMS energy savings potential have been estimated at 5 – 22% with control of one or more distributed energy resource (DER) hardware such as bi-directional electric vehicle (EV) chargers, photovoltaic (PV) inverters, and stationary battery energy storage (BES) inverters. These new systems have significant potential to advance residential energy efficiency and demand flexibility by providing centralized and integrated control of residential building loads including HVAC, HWH, EVs, PV generation and BES, plus the potential for improved electrical efficiency of the integrated EV charging system. Additional benefits include increased residential load flexibility in the form of complete islanding for single-family homes under normal grid conditions, which can remove significant load from the grid, and discharging of stationary and mobile BES (via bi-directional chargers), which can add significantly more kW to the grid than islanding. In addition, these new systems can make homes more resilient during grid outages by automatically switching loads to local battery storage when the grid is unavailable.

REA systems are currently under development by multiple companies and certain companies are marketing REA technology today. However, commercial products are not yet available through standard distribution and supply channels, which suggests that available products represent engineering samples or late-stage prototypes. Regardless, with multiple REA systems entering the California marketplace, a clear understanding of their performance, capabilities, and energy and grid impacts is needed.

To address these needs, this project will complete a market characterization based on the products available either commercially or as prototypes including a market survey, literature review, and preliminary energy modeling/analysis to quantify benefits by climate zone and system type. The market survey will identify existing REA companies and emerging products that claim features or functions related to the control of residential loads, EV charging hardware, PV and BES. The market characterization will also identify the number of Californians who are ideal technology early adopters based on factors such as ownership and access to existing residential solar generation, BES, and EVs; access to available utility tariffs and incentive programs; historic carbon intensity of available electricity sources and their relative use by different communities; and duration and frequency of grid service and outage events including public safety power shutoffs (PSPS). The project scope also includes a thorough review of the existing research on home energy and DER management and control. This will identify existing and anticipated areas of product development and existing challenges, as well as research addressing supply-side programs and needs, which will enable widespread growth of REA technology in California and abroad.

Following the market survey and literature review, preliminary energy modeling and analysis will be performed based on the systems and features identified to establish an appropriate residential baseline(s) and calculate energy, demand and GHG benefits compared to existing practice. Analyses will also determine if residential DERs can be integrated with existing HEMS to enable these benefits without the need to purchase a complete, new REA package, which could bolster technology uptake by hard-to-reach (HTR) and disadvantaged community (DAC) consumers.

This proposed project is one piece of a multi-phase project proposal to understand, evaluate, and support REA technology. Currently, this project is complemented by a parallel laboratory evaluation proposal of available REA systems currently going through CalNEXT review, which will provide the necessary test data to refine outcomes produced by this market study. The two projects will be executed by the same CalNEXT partner and have been intentionally planned to avoid redundancy in scope and wasted cost.

ET22SWE0049

Whole Buildings

TDR

Active

Home space heating, space cooling, and domestic hot water heating loads can be served efficiently by contemporary air-to-water heat pump technology. Higher operating efficiencies and a shift of loads from peak to non-peak demand periods can be achieved through a shared network of hydronic piping coupled to thermal energy storage. Utilization of water as a thermal energy storage medium enables the use of conventional hydronic space cooling, space heating, and domestic hot water heating equipment for an integrated thermal energy storage system in residential applications.

VEIC proposes to conduct a literature review on integrated thermal energy storage technology and a field study of one manufacturer’s controls and packaged solution for single-family residential buildings for energy efficiency and peak load reduction. The literature review will examine publicly available and manufacturer developed research and data on the system packaging and controls technology, performance models, and previous field testing results of storage systems integrated with heating, cooling, and domestic hot water heating.

The field study will evaluate integrated thermal energy storage systems in at least two single-family homes in California. The systems will comprise of commercially available air-to-water heat pumps, water storage tanks, domestic hot water tanks, hydronic heating/cooling air handlers (i.e. fan coil units), as well as a Stow Energy proprietary control system.

As part of the field study, we propose to perform measurement and verification (M&V), to evaluate the efficiency, load shift potential, and cost-effectiveness of water-based thermal energy storage systems for integrated space heating, space cooling, and domestic hot water heating in single-family, residential buildings in California. The evaluation will quantify the potential whole-building energy efficiency, peak demand reduction, and owner economics of the integrated systems.

The study will assess the appropriateness of such systems for existing and new California single-family homes in terms of cost to owners, cost to utilities, and public benefits. The results of the study can inform utility-sponsored programs for energy efficiency and load shift / load reduction.

ET22SWE0050

HVAC, Water Heating

TSR

Active

Heat pump space conditioning and water heating can greatly reduce energy consumption compared to existing electric resistance or natural gas combustion options. Requirements for electrical service upgrades add cost and installation delays for customers considering heat pumps for space conditioning and or hot water heating. Around half of all homes are expected to require electrical service panel upgrades that cause delays in system installation.

Residential Multi-Function Heat Pumps use one efficient compressor and outdoor heat exchanger coil to provide space cooling, space heating, and domestic hot water heating. These systems offer many energy efficiency benefits. Air-to-air versions of these systems use refrigerant to provide the heating and cooling services and have the potential to eliminate the need for electric resistance backup heaters reducing the maximum power requirements for full size capacity systems so that they can fit on existing air conditioning electrical circuits and eliminate the need for electrical service upgrades reducing cost and speeding up installation. This technology does not need to be undersized to fit on the existing air conditioning electrical circuit.

The air-to-air multi-function heat pump that is closest to being a commercial product is a production-ready prototype with planned sales starting Q4 2022. This near-commercial design uses a hot water tank with both a refrigerant to water and a water-to-water heat exchanger. The UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC) has a PG&E-funded emerging technologies project in progress field testing this prototype system. Preliminary results show good energy efficiency performance for typical heat pump mode cooling rejecting heat to outdoors and heating moving thermal energy from outdoors to indoors. Preliminary results show even higher efficiency for the mode using waste heat from space cooling to heat hot water. Preliminary findings also show that the heat exchanger design can likely be improved to further increase energy efficiency and to reduce costs. There are also options for using lower GHG impact refrigerants.

This project will collect specifications and cost data for relevant commercially available heat exchangers, build computer models of the refrigerant to water and water-to-water heat exchangers using different refrigerants to assess the current design, and complete a technoeconomic analysis to recommend improvements that can increase efficiency, reduce cost, and reduce refrigerant GHG impacts. This model, analysis, and recommendations will build on previous research that can inform but does not answer the questions for this application such as indirectly heated hot water storage tanks.

This project will directly prepare for a lab demonstration project to test system performance with improved heat exchanger design as well as field demonstration and performance verification in DAC and HTR customer buildings.

ET22SWE0051

Water Heating, Whole Buildings

TDR

Active

Using swimming pools as heat sinks for air conditioner waste heat has been estimated to reduce air conditioner energy use in California by 25-30% (Harrington and Modera, 2012). There are two primary advantages of rejecting waste heat to an air conditioner instead of ambient air: 1) swimming pool temperatures are colder than ambient air during peak cooling periods, and 2) water is a superior heat transfer medium than air resulting in better heat exchange performance. These both result in lowering compressor head pressures and associated energy use. This process also has the added benefit of providing “free” pool heating which would increase the benefits to consumers and spur market adoption. A retrofit technology has been identified for adapting an existing air conditioner to allow heat rejection to a swimming pool, but no independent evaluation of the technology exists. The technology allows a maximum pool temperature to be set by the user, and will switch between the existing air-source condenser and the water-source condenser depending on the heating needs of the pool. The higher the pool setpoint temperature the more heat that is rejected to the pool versus ambient air and the higher the energy saving potential. This project would perform 2-3 retrofit installations of this technology to evaluate the impact on air conditioner energy use, and develop recommendations for control setpoints that lead to higher energy savings results. The results will be combined with an existing pool thermal model to develop a tool for evaluating potential savings using inputs such as: pool volume, average depth, shading, air conditioner capacity and efficiency, climate zone, and pool temperature setpoint.

ET22SWE0052

HVAC, Process Loads

TSR

Active

The majority of building power distribution systems use alternating current (AC). This significantly influences the design of connected, building system components and appliances such as direct current (DC) appliances. With the proliferation of DC devices as standard design elements across many building technology categories, the interest in DC power distribution systems has also increased significantly. Power over Ethernet (PoE) leverages existing Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in the form of power switches, CAT cables and the IP protocol to facilitate communication and power distribution. Many control components across building systems, are being designed with PoE compatibility to save energy on the AC-to-DC conversion, facilitate networking, and reduce installation cost.

The PoE DC Microgrid project will evaluate the electrical efficiency and cybersecurity implications of utilizing a centralized PoE switch as the power and communications hub for multiple building systems in whole-building or floor-level microgrid. The project will first assess the electrical efficiency of a cross section of PoE enabled building control components relative to their traditional AC powered counterparts. PoE-enabled building systems that will be evaluated include: VAVs, security/physical access control systems, thin clients and networking components, lighting, shading and displays. Next, two scaled whole-building or floor-level PoE Microgrids will be designed using commercially available PoE-enabled building systems. The first system will utilize a separate, appropriately sized PoE switch for each building system and the second system will utilize a single, larger PoE switch to aggregate all building systems together. The research team will evaluate the electrical efficiency of each system as compared to each other and a baseline AC system. Finally, the research team will evaluate the cybersecurity measures that each PoE system manufacturer recommends regarding the installation, commissioning and network configuration for both PoE microgrid topologies. The research team will generate cybersecurity best practices for commissioning multiple PoE based building systems with a centralized PoE switch.

ET22SWE0053

Whole Buildings

TSR

Active

The proposed project is a laboratory evaluation of advanced home energy management systems (HEMS) that will quantify the electrical efficiency associated with advanced distributed energy resource (DER) management features and assess claims of interoperability across a range of communication protocols. These systems provide one or more of the following features: home energy and demand management; grid services such as event- or price-based load shifting and demand response; interoperability with other home appliances and appliance-specific controls; integration and consolidated management of DERs such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery energy storage (BES); and bi-directional, electric vehicle (EV) charging; all-of-which combine to deliver improved residential energy efficiency, load flexibility, and GHG reductions. In addition, these new systems can make homes more resilient during grid outages by automatically switching loads to local battery storage when the grid is unavailable.

Advanced HEMS are currently under development by multiple companies and certain companies are marketing the technology today. Currently available technology is in prototype form and in need of independent testing to validate performance and quantify benefits.  The predominant metrics will include electrical efficiency (%), annual energy saved (kw-Hr), peak load reduction (kW), GHG reductions (focused on SGIP signal), and an estimate enabled load flexibility. Outcomes will also include recommendations for improving the technology to better ensure commercial products provide significant benefits that will justify utility program support and increase market adoption across California.

ET22SWE0055

Whole Buildings

TDR

Active

The 120V heat pump water heater (HPWH) has the potential to vastly increase customer adoption of heat pump water heaters by reducing installation costs. The 120V units plug directly into existing shared or dedicated circuits at the WH location, eliminating additional electrical wiring and/or electrical panel upgrades, which is one of the most substantial barriers to HPWH installation.

To date, HPWH adoption has been much slower than heat pump HVAC, largely because the plumbing market tends to be more conservative as a whole and is not as used to continuous advances in technology seen in HVAC. Experience by other implementers, such as NEEA and Efficiency Maine, suggests that contractors first-hand home experience with the product significantly increases willingness to recommend that product to customers.

Our project plan to accelerate adoption will install 150-160 HPWH into the homes of plumbing contractors for them to experience the ease of installation and alleviate uncertainty about units not producing enough hot water. Special emphasis will be placed on contractors living in and serving DAC communities where panel upgrades and additional electrical work constitute a significant financial burden and barrier to HPWH adoption.

These 120V units will be installed exclusively in the homes of plumbing contractors and will not receive any further incentives from TECH, although they will be eligible for federal tax credits. TECH will record these installations and they will become part of the TECH dataset and the GHG savings will be claimed (this is negotiable), but no further incentives will be available through TECH. We do not propose to install any units where additional partner incentives may be available (i.e. SMUD/BayREN).

This project is proposed as an augment to TECH’s “Bulk Purchase/Contractor Demo” program which focuses on 240V units. Funds from CalNEXT will be used solely for purchasing 120V HPWH units for delivery through the TECH Bulk Purchase/Contractor Demo program. As part of this project, TECH will educate contractors on training around customer incentives available from TECH, SGIP, EE PLA and other resources to aid in their sales process to their customers. We will coordinate with PLA and SGIP stakeholders (depending on timing of the SGIP award) for input on the project planning.

ET22SWE0056

Water Heating

TSR

Active

VEIC proposes to conduct a market study which will include a product assessment of technologies which can minimize or completely avoid the need for an electric panel upgrade or other electric infrastructure work associated with residential electrification projects. The study will include an assessment of the smart panel and smart breaker markets, but will focus particular attention on smart circuits, smart switches and smart plugs. These products may be cheaper than the avoided infrastructure work, thus reducing the cost of and encouraging residential electrification of end-use appliances and devices.

Traditionally, when adding new electrical loads in a home, it was assumed at any point this new demand may be turned on at the same time as existing loads, which would overload existing infrastructure. Recently though, with intelligent power management with emerging smart technologies, loads in the home can be prioritized, so that lower priority loads stay off, reducing simultaneous demand to stay within existing infrastructure capacity.

This market study will bring additional knowledge to existing IOU energy efficiency (EE) and beneficial electrification (BE) programs to enable more emerging technology electrification measures including: HVAC systems such as air source heat pumps, water heating measures such as heat pump water heaters, and plug load measures such as heat pump clothes dryers and EV chargers without having to upgrade residential electric infrastructure, such as the electric panel.

This project will compare and contrast a host of emerging technologies which can be used to minimize or avoid this household electric infrastructure work and encourage the adoption of more efficient electric end-use devices. This project will include the components necessary for IOU EE and beneficial electrification (BE) program administrators to develop a simple, public facing reference document to help customers and contractors assess alternative solutions to minimize residential electrification project cost and time. VEIC will review literature and conduct secondary research to inventory research to date on this topic. Stakeholder feedback from IOU BE program administrator will inform emerging technology priorities and the project will build on existing work, especially with smart panel technologies. Once we identify gaps, VEIC will conduct primary research focused on collecting insights from key stakeholders such as electrical and installation contractors, technology providers, manufacturers, utility program managers, residential homeowners, and property managers.

ET22SWE0057

HVAC, Plug Loads & Appliances, Whole Buildings

TSR

Active