News Release: Agreement Establishes Energy-Efficient Home Collaboration

Oct. 31, 2005 | By Sarah Barba | Contact media relations

Golden, Colo. — A partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will move forward energy-efficient home construction in California while advancing energy-efficient home research at NREL.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes a collaboration between NREL and SMUD in which SMUD will participate in NREL's research and development activities on high-performance, energy-efficient homes. This multi-year, mutually beneficial agreement allows NREL researchers to evaluate cost and performance improvements in homes that are supported by SMUD and are constructed in their service territory. SMUD will share data with NREL from these collaborative projects, including utility bill information, impacts on their distribution system, energy and peak demand information, and performance of photovoltaic systems used in the projects.

"NREL's research is aiming for a 70 percent reduction in energy use in homes without compromising comfort or convenience. The intent is to provide the remaining 30 percent through onsite power supplied by photovoltaics, making the house a net zero energy user," said Bobi A. Garrett, NREL Associate Director of Planning and Technology Management. "This Memo of Understanding is an excellent opportunity for NREL to collaborate with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and collect information that will help us meet our goals and reduce home energy use in the coming years."

NREL's research promotes the development and implementation of innovative, energy-efficient building processes and technologies by the residential building industry. As lead technical advisor for the Building America program, NREL participates in strategic planning, research and design, development of construction processes, testing and evaluation, and outreach activities.

This MOU is SMUD's most recent activity aimed at advancing the energy-efficient housing market. In SMUD's rapidly growing service territory, residential construction constitutes a large portion of the overall energy load growth and peak energy demand for electricity. SMUD is promoting the next-generation of home construction designs and systems with the goal of making them standard practice among local builders.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.