energy efficiency

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week awarded technology company Lucid Design Group, a grant to develop energy efficiency technology.In a press statement, EPA said it gave the California-based company, US$295,507 for the development of innovative energy efficiency technology to protect the environment.

Under the project which saw EPA releasing a US$2,4m grant to eight small businesses in the US, Lucid Design will look into reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings specifically during periods of peak demand.

Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest said: “Lucid’s project is a great example of how technology can be used to help protect the environment.

“Giving office workers immediate feedback on their energy use can help them to change their habits for the better," he added.

The grant will help Lucid Design to further develop, test and commercialise its energy efficiency technology claimed to provide real time feedback to consumers via ambient color-based visual messaging.

During phase 1 of EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), Lucid Design and 7 other technology companies received US$100,000 for further development and commercialisation of their products and ideas.

Amongst the technologies Lucid has developed together with EPA’s funding is a ‘Building Dashboard’, an online tool that tracks in real-time how much energy and water is being used in a building and provides visual insights that can influence occupants to change their habits.

Energy efficiency funding in the US

In mid February, Villanova University’s Centre for Energy Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) received a US$1,1m grant for research and development of energy efficiency technologies.

In a press statement, the centre said the US National Science Foundation funding will be directed toward the implementation of a collaborative energy efficiency R&D project aimed at reducing energy consumption in data centres and other electronic systems.

Under the project, ES2 said it will partner with Binghamton University, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Texas, Arlington.

ES2 will utilise Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES) at the University of Arkansas, the Power Systems Engineering Research Centre at Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Integrated Electronics Engineering Centre out of Binghamton University.

ES2 said the project will focus on developing hybrid AC/DC power delivery in data centres consuming more than 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

Alfonso Ortega, Villanova’s ES2 site director, said: “Collaborative research drives success.”

To date, 10% to 20% of the AC power used by data centres is lost during stepping down of power to fit the voltage required by the centres’ IT equipment chipsets.

By using DC power, ES2 believes data centres will increase reliability, reduce power consumption and allow renewable energy usage.