The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has received a $4.7 million grant from the California Strategic Growth Council to develop advanced residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants—and to conduct community studies to bring the technology to low-income and disadvantaged Californians
PALO ALTO, CA (Jan 28, 2019)
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has received a $4.7 million grant from the California Strategic Growth Council to develop advanced residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants—and to conduct community studies to bring the technology to low-income and disadvantaged Californians.
Along with California-based energy technology and finance companies Treau, WattzOn, and Otherlab, EPRI will help develop, demonstrate, and deploy new heat pumps using low GWP refrigerants. Led by WattzOn, the group will evaluate financing options and study customer use patterns, with a focus on developing energy and money saving technologies designed to serve California’s low income and disadvantaged communities. The collaborative will also work to expand upon Treau’s HVAC technology by replacing environmentally harmful refrigerants with a more efficient working fluid to improve heat transfer with lower GWP.
“Our work will advance the development of a window unit to heat and cool homes at a lower cost for the consumer and the environment,” said Mukesh Khattar, EPRI technical executive and co-principal investigator. “We’re focusing on this efficient appliance because it provides households the opportunity to realize energy savings and contribute to greenhouse gas emission reductions without major capital investment.”
“Our aim is to make homes and families more comfortable while decreasing harmful emissions from traditional heating and cooling equipment,” said Vince Romanin, CEO of Treau, Inc. “This grant will help us provide fellow Californians with new options to make their homes more comfortable while saving money and helping our environment.”
Many of the demonstrations and field tests are slated for Modesto, Calif., with an average winter low temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and an average summer high temperature of 94 degrees.
“The City of Modesto is engaging with the research group and the Central Valley Opportunity Center to bring new high-efficiency HVAC technology to market, with a focus on our underserved communities,” said Jaylen French, director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Modesto. “We thank the California Strategic Growth Council for funding this project and its dual focus on people and technology.”
“Using this innovative technology, the research team has the opportunity to empower underserved consumers, saving money and energy while reducing GWP,” said Martha Amram, CEO of WattzOn. “This grant enables our team to rethink how lower income consumers pay for energy saving technologies that often are out-of-reach for these households.”
Among its research projects to bring advanced energy technology to disadvantaged communities, EPRI is testing zero net energy technologies in public housing in California, developing low-cost smart thermostats to enhance command and control of energy use for lower-income households, and addressing air quality issues in economically challenged communities.
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, affordability, health, safety and the environment. EPRI’s members represent approximately 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to more than 30 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, NC; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.
Treau is a seed-stage hardware startup in San Francisco, CA making home heaters and air conditioners that are better for the environment, easier to install, and more pleasant to use. Treau started one year ago as part of Otherlab, a group of inventors, engineers, scientists, and business people striving to impact the energy, robotics, manufacturing, and education sectors.
WattzOn provides text extraction data services through its complete machine learning system, MR BILL, and a vertical API for utility data, LINK, that covers 50 states and 94 million homes. WattzOn is a women-led company, with Martha Amram, CEO, and Sandra Carrico, VP of Engineering and Chief Data Scientist.
Otherlab is an independent R&D lab with a variety of enterprises in various stages of development, from projects in the initial research and development phase, to full blown companies that have spun out. We are mischievous scientists, practical dreamers, working on making the world the way it needs to be. Asking: “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” is an excellent place to start.
About The California Climate Investments
The Strategic Growth Council’s Climate Change Research Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.