Obama lauds energy efficiency, innovation at Penn State

Feb. 3, 2011

A schematic rendering of some of the details of the $159 million Energy Innovation Hub to be up and running at The Navy Yard, Philadelphia. The main function will be to study how to improve energy efficiency in buildings. Renderings courtesy of Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (Download Image)

Obama lauds energy efficiency, innovation at Penn State

In a speech Thursday at Penn State University, President Obama announced the Better Building Initiative in an effort to achieve a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency in commercial buildings by 2020.

Penn State leads the Greater Philadelphia Cluster for Energy Efficiency Buildings (GPIC) which will be built at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia. The Lab's expertise in integrated multi-physical modeling will be an integral part of GPIC. The goal of the center 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 is led by Penn State University in partnership with LLNL, IBM, United Technologies Corporation, Virginia Tech and numerous other public, private and academic partners. LLNL's Computation Associate Director Dona Crawford was a key player in linking the Laboratory into the partnership.

LLNL's Deputy Director of Science & Technology Tomas Diaz de la Rubia along with Computation's Deputy Associate Director John Grosh attended the speech and said the president commended the partners and their efforts toward energy efficiency innovations.

"This hub is a great opportunity for LLNL to demonstrate the value of high-performance computing and simulation for energy technology applications," Diaz de la Rubia said.

One of the key parts of the Better Building Initiative is a program called Race to Green, a competitive grant process modeled after the highly successful Race to the Top program that has improved education across the country. Race to Green encourages states and local governments to reform their building codes and make it easier to retrofit buildings with energy-saving technology. The best ideas to streamline regulations will receive grants from the federal government that will help put those ideas into practice.

One of the goals of the research at GPIC 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.