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Spring 2017


Project Highlights

The Western Cooling Efficiency Center was established in 2007, alongside our UC Davis partner centers, the Energy Efficiency Center, California Lighting Technology Center, Center for Water-Energy Efficiency and the PHEV Research Center through a grant from the California Clean Energy Fund and in partnership with the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research Program.

WCEC partners with industry stakeholders to stimulate the development of impactful cooling technologies that can enable reduced electrical demand, energy and water consumption in buildings.

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A Year in Review

If you haven't read it, we've posted our latest Year In Review document online for you to read. We highlight some of our notable projects from 2016 Download the PDF

WCEC's Project Highlights for this issue:

  • » Aerosol Envelope Sealing for large-scale, new construction residential deployment
  • » Energy Efficient HVAC Packages for Existing Residential Buildings
  • » Low Cost Geothermal Heat Pumps
  • » Characterizing the real world performance for a new evaporative condensing unit

Aerosol Envelope Sealing Update

Curtis Harrington, WCEC's Senior Engineer, adjusting an aerosol nozzle.

In order to optimize the cost and efficacy of this technology, WCEC is looking for residential home developers to determine the optimal integration of aerosol envelope sealing with home building process schedules. Please contact Curtis Harrington directly for more information: csharrington@ucdavis.edu

For the past few years, WCEC demonstrated the success of sealing building shells with aerosolized adhesive. Now, WCEC is looking to find the optimum point to use this technology within the building cycle in large, master-planned residential communities. WCEC will look at optimization both in terms of sealing performance and cost effectiveness. As part of the cost effectiveness evaluation WCEC will identify typical manual sealing details for new homes that can be replaced by the aerosol sealing technology.


Energy Efficient HVAC Packages for Existing Residential Buildings

Diagram of one of the technology packages used for this research

This project will demonstrate and evaluate two residential retrofit packages that use advanced technologies to improve single-family building envelopes, indoor air quality, and cooling efficiency. Package 1 includes a sub-wetbulb evaporative chiller (SWEC) with distributed fan coils, combined with a Smart Residential Ventilation system and extra-tight envelope/ducts obtained with a new aerosol sealing technology. Package 2 includes the same sub-wetbulb evaporative chiller connected to a central-system fan coil, combined with a NightBreeze whole-house ventilation/pre-cooling system and extra-tight aerosol-sealed envelope/ducts.

Currently, WCEC has identified two residential sites for this project in Davis, CA. We will begin monitoring baseline data on the homes' performance this summer, and will install the retrofits in Summer of 2018. WCEC will collect one year of data for both baseline and post-retrofit periods to evaluate their performance.



Low Cost Geothermal Heat Pumps

This project seeks to validate less expensive methods of building the ground heat exchangers (GHEs) that are a key component of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs).

Currently, WCEC is collecting data on three different shallow-bore helical GSHP installations: two in Davis and one in Vacaville. The data collected will be used to validate a model of this technology that describes the thermal interaction between the GHE and the surrounding soil. Ultimately, the model will be integrated into EnergyPlus energy modeling software to simulate the performance of a GSHP that utilizes this new heat exchanger design.



Field Test for an Evaporatively-Cooled Condensing Unit

Diagram of the water-cooled condenser added to a traditional rooftop unit


WCEC field tested a water-cooled condenser unit retrofitted onto two existing package rooftop units (RTUs) in Simi Valley, CA. This project characterized the overall system performance and energy efficiency over a two-year span before and after the water-cooled condenser coil was added.

WCEC has drafted the final report for this field study, and the results will be published soon to the Emerging Technologies Coordination Council’s website here: Emerging Technologies Coordination Council Reports

The results showed that the new condenser reduced total cooling energy use over the summer by 12% and peak energy demand by 25% on the hottest days.