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Technology Overviews

These overviews will guide you to a better understanding of energy-efficiency measures and technologies. Reading them will help you understand how they work, how they save energy and whether or not they may be appropriate to include in your building design or retrofit.

Aerogel insulation properties demo. NASA/JPL-Caltech


  • Technology Overview: Thermal Energy Storage (TES)
    October 18, 2013
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    Thermal Energy Storage (TES)

    Thermal Energy Storage (TES) refers to the storage of cooling capacity in order to shift electrical demand to off-peak hours. Typical thermal energy storage systems work in conjunction with air distribution systems and rely on water chillers or ice-making machines to produce cooling capacity.

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  • Technology Overview: Chilled Water TES Systems
    October 17, 2013
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    Chilled Water TES

    Chilled Water systems are one of the most popular options for thermal energy storage (TES). Chilled water systems are appealing for many applications because they are less complex and have lower operating costs than alternative technologies, but require more physical space as they offer lower storage density than other options.

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  • Technology Overview: Ice Storage TES Systems
    October 17, 2013
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    Ice Storage TES

    Ice storage thermal energy storage (TES) systems rely on ice instead of chilled water as a storage medium. Ice storage systems are less often used than chilled water systems due to being more complex and less efficient, but offer the densest storage capacity. Ice storage tanks are about 75% smaller than chilled water tanks.

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  • Technology Overview: Rooftop Unit TES Systems
    October 17, 2013
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    Rooftop Unit TES

    Thermal energy storage (TES) systems can be used with commercial and residential packaged rooftop units (RTUs), to shift energy use to off-peak periods.  RTU-TES systems can be designed for new construction or retrofit applications.

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  • Technology Overview: Eutectic Salts TES Systems
    October 15, 2013
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    Eutectic Salts TES Systems

    Eutectic salts Thermal Energy Storage (TES) systems use a phase change medium instead of ice. Eutectic salts have a higher freezing point temperature than water. The phase change material is encapsulated in plastic containers that are stacked in the storage tank as water is circulated around them.

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  • Technology Overview: Daylighting
    August 27, 2007
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    Daylighting is the use of windows, skylights, and shading devices to distribute natural light inside a building. Intended to provide amenable work and living environments, daylighting can also significantly reduce the need for electric lighting.

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  • Technology Overview: Multi-Level Switching
    August 27, 2007
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    Multi-level switching allows some of the electric lighting in a space to be switched off while maintaining a reasonably uniform distribution of light suitable for work.

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  • Technology Overview: High Efficiency HVAC Equipment
    August 27, 2007
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    High efficiency HVAC equipment is heating and cooling equipment that meets a higher efficiency rating than federal appliance standards require.

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  • Technology Overview: Variable Frequency Drives
    August 27, 2007
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    Variable-frequency drives reduce energy consumption by controlling motor speed and reducing it to match the actual load.

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  • Technology Overview: Occupancy Sensors
    August 27, 2007
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    Occupancy sensors detect movement to determine when a space is occupied. They can switch off lights, HVAC equipment, or appliances when the space is unoccupied.

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  • Technology Overview: Evaporative Pre-coolers
    August 27, 2007
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    Technology Overview: Evaporative Pre-coolers

    Evaporative pre-coolers reduce air conditioner load by cooling the air that surrounds air conditioner condensers.

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  • Technology Overview: Economizers
    August 27, 2007
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    Economizers reduce cooling energy consumption by allowing cool outside air into buildings, which reduces or eliminates the need for mechanical cooling.

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  • Technology Overview: Cool Roofs
    August 27, 2007
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    Cool roofs have a combination of reflectance and emittance properties that keep them cool on hot days. They reduce the cooling loads of buildings, especially during peak times.

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