The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding for $9 million in leading-edge building envelope technologies, including high-performance windows, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment.

This new investment supports six advanced manufacturing projects in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee that advance whole-home energy performance. Examples of the projects include:
--St. Louis-based Unico will receive $2 million to develop a cold climate heat pump with a variable-speed compressor that will maintain capacity and efficiency even at very low temperatures. 
--The University of Idaho will design and demonstrate a roof sandwich panel that uses foam material to increase building thermal efficiency and helps reduce construction costs by 25 percent. 
--Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will develop and test highly insulated, easy-to-install windows that use automated shading that can capture or repel heat depending on the season.

In a typical residential or commercial building, about 42 percent of energy is lost through the building envelope, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu. The new initiatives will help bring affordable technologies to market that address opportunities for improved building performance and cost savings, he says.