Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: ORNL buildings technology spearheading improved home energy efficiency

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 8, 2005 — New construction technologies and improved heating and cooling equipment and appliances developed and tested at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have helped to improve home energy efficiency levels almost 25 percent over three decades.

Oak Ridge's Marilyn Brown says the laboratory's roof research facility, coupled with other advances gained from the buildings technology center, have helped enhance home energy efficiency.

"Soon there will be coatings that make windows smart with respect to weather by absorbing heat on winter days and reflecting solar energy in the summertime," Brown said. "Oak Ridge scientists now are using these same principles to develop smart roofs that change reflectants as a function of outdoor temperature."

Brown said the energy comparison between homes built today and 40 years ago is impressive.

"Back in the early 1970s, homes were 50 percent smaller than they are today," Brown said. "Fewer than a third of them had central air conditioning."

Brown recently co-authored a report on home energy efficiency for the Pew Center for Global Climate Change.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.