As part of its Building America Program, the DOE has selected eight companies for grants totaling $5.5 million to develop residential construction solutions aimed at providing comfortable living environments and lowering homeowners’ utility bills. Partners will pilot myriad innovative approaches such as low-cost construction methods, affordable zero-energy ready homes, and highly efficient integrated heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

As a grant recipient, Home Innovation Research Labs will conduct structural testing of window installation techniques for walls with continuous insulation. Through this research, the company plans to create more detailed industry guidance, help improve usability of energy codes, and enable wider adoption of high-performance walls in residential construction.

“The goal is to develop cost-effective, practical solutions that work across the country in various wall applications and climate zones, and can be embraced equally by trades, builders, code officials, and product manufacturers,” according to Vladimir Kochkin, Home Innovation’s director of applied engineering. “This project will leverage the DOE funding with the resources and expertise of leading industry partners in high-performance building enclosures. We will work closely with the Foam Sheathing Committee of the American Chemistry Council, and window companies represented by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association.”

The other seven groups receiving grant funds from the DOE are: Building Science Corp.; Center for Energy and Environment; Fraunhofer USA; Newport Partners; Southface Energy Institute; Steven Winter Associates; and University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Typically, heating and cooling account for 40% of a home’s energy consumption—the largest single energy use and more than water heating, refrigeration, and lighting combined. U.S. homeowners in 2014 spent about $70 billion to heat their homes and $24 billion to cool them, according to the DOE. Through the work of these grant recipients, the DOE hopes to significantly reduce these consumer expenditures.