Research Focus Areas
Buildings End-Use Energy Efficiency Research
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
As California's population continues to grow, many more people are settling inland California. Inland California is composed primarily of hot dry climates that require significant cooling in the summer. PIER cooling research focuses on innovative ways to reduce water consumption, peak demand, and overall energy use when conditioning a commercial space. PIER Buildings research projects include:
- Fault detection and diagnostic tools.
- Workforce development tools and software.
- In-slab cooling systems.
- Design tools for using swimming pools as heat sinks.
- Low-cost chilled-water storage.
- Condenser air pre-cooling.
- Optimized hybrid cooling systems.
PIER technologies have been adopted by big-box retailers such as Walmart (in-slab cooling systems) and Target (condenser air pre-cooling).
Western Cooling Efficiency Center
The Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC) is a collaboration/partnership set up with PIER funds to identify technologies, disseminate information, and implement programs that reduce cooling system electrical demand and energy consumption. Located at UC Davis, the WCEC focuses on technologies that are well suited to dry western climates, particularly those technologies overlooked in current markets such as evaporative cooling. Several completed projects have shown the potential to reduce cooling energy consumption in California buildings by 50 to 90 percent with improved equipment.
The WCEC disseminates information through partnerships with affiliates to display and demonstrate emerging cooling technologies, use of the WCEC offices as working laboratories for research, and through innovative program mechanisms such as the Western Cooling Challenge.