Midland, Michigan -- The US Department of Energy has given $1.2 million to Dow Corning Corp. to develop an insulating facade system that may significantly increase the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.
A statement from the Midland-based company said the cash will help it develop a silicon-based system for high-efficiency building insulation which could be used in retro-fit and new construction applications, without being more specific about the material. The release also said the project is focused on achieving thermal resistance values of R-40 or greater for exterior insulation and finish systems, which it added would make building facades as many as eight times more energy efficient.
Since Dow Corning is an expert in silicon-based materials, it seems likely that the project will focus on insulation made using silicon-based aerogels, although the company also has an interest in vacuum insulation panels.
"We commend Secretary Chu and the Department of Energy's commitment to reducing energy usage of US buildings," Stephanie Burns, Dow Corning chairman, president and ceo, said, in the company statement.
The project is one of 58 given more than $76 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding by the DOE in advanced energy-efficient building technology projects as well as for developing training programs for commercial building technicians, building operators, and energy auditors.
"These projects will help the United States lead the world in advancing energy-efficient technologies," said US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in the announcement. "Energy-efficient commercial buildings will help our country cut its carbon emissions and energy costs while the training programmes will upgrade the skills of the current workforce and attract the next generation to careers in the emerging clean-energy economy."