Thursday, April 5, 2012

Loren Burnett - Founder of US e-Chromic and Speaker at the Global New Energy Summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado April 9-11: Use of Electrochromic Technology on Windows to Cut Energy Use

For the Department of Defense (DoD), installation energy represents a significant cost.  In fiscal year 2009, electricity accounted for 63.64% of DoD energy use, $3.8B (28% of total DoD energy costs) and a disproportionate share of greenhouse gas emissions.  It is critical to the DoD to cut electricity use, not only for cost but for national security.  “Installation energy management is key to mission assurance.”  Dr. Robyn, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Installations and Environment. 

The DoD is actively seeking solutions to reduce its energy use and advanced window technology could play a critical role.  According to ENERGYSTAR, heat gain and loss through windows can account for up to 50% of a facility’s heating and cooling needs.  Advanced energy technologies can be used to reduce the need for heating and cooling.

Loren Burnett is founder of US e-Chromic (a Boulder based company) and speaker at the Global New Energy Summit.  US e-Chromic was founded to commercialize electrochromic technology developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to deflect sunlight in the summer and reduce the need for air conditioning.  According to Burnett, “the electrochromic technology used by US e-Chromic LLC uses an electric field to change the tint of a window, allowing users to control the transparency based on the time of day, temperature, or exposure to sunlight.  Today, the current supply of electrochromic windows turn darker in color when activated, consequently absorbing heat.  In contrast, the technology being developed by US e-Chromic LLC reflects sunlight, keeping buildings cooler.  They can be retrofitted to existing windows, potentially reducing cooling costs by 25-30 percent for commercial buildings during air conditioning months.” 

According to studies by NREL, windows that can dynamically change color or reflectivity based on changes in the sun’s intensity or temperature potentially could save 2% to 4% of the nation’s entire energy budget.  These savings are recognized by the DoD.  “Energy efficiency is not just the low-hanging fruit; it’s the fruit lying on the ground, which is all about retrofitting – more efficient boilers, HVAC systems and windows, daylighting and so forth. It’s all that not very sexy stuff, but that’s the name of the game.”  Dr. Robyn, DoD’s Evolving Energy Revolution - An Interview with Dorothy Robyn, PhD, by Rosemarie Calvert (

In addition, the DoD recognizes that they can play a role in proving and helping to commercialize technology.  ”DoD is one of the few organizations, like Wal-Mart, large enough to create energy technology test-beds for its self-interest, which will, simultaneously, speed deployment and commercialization for national benefit. It’s a test and evaluation function with a twist because of its capability to begin a US energy revolution – and it’s already begun thanks to DoD’s keen understanding that national security cannot be separated from energy security.” Id.

Within DoD there are operational and regulatory challenges to commercialization.  With challenge however, comes opportunity.  We are working with ACORE to address some of these challenges in order to streamline the transaction space.  Our country needs to be able to implement advanced technologies and we look forward to learning more about US e-Chromic and next steps for commercial scale deployment at the Global New Energy Summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 9-11, 2012.  To find out more go to

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