LLNL contributes computational technologies for building energy efficiency to Philadelphia Innovation Cluster

October 01, 2010

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's expertise in integrated multi-physics modeling will be an integral part of a new national effort in energy efficient building research.

The goal of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficiency Buildings (GPIC) is to establish The Navy Yard in Philadelphia and the surrounding area as the national center for energy efficient buildings research, education, policy and commercialization.

The new center will be led by Penn State University in partnership with LLNL and numerous other public, private and academic partners. The Department of Energy's $122 million in funding will cover the core research and development activities of the Energy Efficiency Hub. Several federal agencies have been working in partnership with DOE to establish and fully leverage the building energy efficiency research cluster with an additional $7 million.

One of the goals of the research is to develop integrated end-to-end code for simulating building fluid/thermal flows. LLNL will build this modeling capability. In addition, the Laboratory will develop and apply algorithms and tools for uncertainty quantification for building energy simulations. GPIC partner IBM will develop the framework to integrate the code components and other GPIC partners United Technologies Corporation and Virginia Tech will work on simulating the control systems.

"This is a 'get it to work' solution," said computer scientist John Grosh, who heads LLNL's role in the GPIC.

LLNL and the GPIC partners will bring a new approach to modeling integrated cyber-physical control systems, and then develop methodologies to create a scalable reduced order models that can be rapidly transitioned to commercial deployment. The expectation is that that this approach can yield significantly more robust and effective controllers. LLNL will be working with Virginia Tech in applying its adaptive meshing tools (SAMRAI) and math expertise to develop these new techniques. "This hub is a great opportunity for LLNL to demonstrate the value of high-performance computing and simulation for energy technology applications," said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, LLNL's deputy director for Science & Technology.

The building sector consumes about 40 percent of the energy used in the United States and is responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The entire transport sector represents only about 28 percent of energy use. A 50 percent reduction in buildings' energy usage would be equivalent to taking every passenger vehicle and small truck in the United States off the road. A 70 percent reduction in buildings energy usage is equivalent to eliminating the entire energy consumption of the U.S. transportation sector.

To satisfy its goals of improved energy efficiency and operability and reduced carbon emissions, and to stimulate private investment and quality job creation, the GPIC will focus on full-spectrum retrofit of existing average size commercial, industrial and multi-family residential buildings. The GPIC's tasks have been divided into five broad areas:
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Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (www.llnl.gov) is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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