The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $1.2 million to Midland, Mich.-based Dow Corning Corp. to develop an insulating facade system to increase the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.
The funding will assist Dow Corning in the development of a silicon-based high-efficiency building insulation system suitable for retrofit and new construction applications. The insulation project is focused on achieving thermal resistance values of R-40 or greater for exterior insulation and finish systems, which would make building facades as many as eight times more energy efficient.
Dow Corning's energy efficient insulation material is one of 58 projects awarded more than $76 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding by the DOE to support advanced energy-efficient building technology projects and development of training programs for commercial building equipment technicians, building operators and energy auditors.
"These projects will help the United States lead the world in advancing energy-efficient technologies," says U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Energy-efficient commercial buildings will help our country cut its carbon emissions and energy costs while the training programs will upgrade the skills of the current workforce and attract the next generation to careers in the emerging clean-energy economy."
Dow Corning is certainly doing its part to advance energy-efficient technologies via its recent European investments in solar energy. The company recently announced that it will invest up to $13 million in a two-building Solar Energy Exploration/Development Center (SEED) at its Business & Technology Center in Seneffe, Belgium. One building, a Synthesis Technology Center for the European area, will house laboratories and chemists focusing on innovations in silicon-based materials. The other, the European Solar Solutions Application Center, will focus on advancing the company's technology for use in photovoltaic cells.
Construction is expected to begin later in 2010.
The company already has three solar solutions application centers – two in the United States and one in Korea. The European facility will enable engineers and scientists to work with customers there to develop, evaluate, and test silicon-based materials solutions used to make solar cells.
"Europe has been a pioneer for the solar industry and Dow Corning is excited to strengthen its capabilities in the European Union, where many of our customers and innovation collaborators in the scientific community are located," says Eric Peeters, Dow Corning Business vice president Solar.
"This investment confirms our intention to be an active, eager partner with researchers, producers and governments and demonstrates our commitment to help solar become a competitive and sustainable energy option globally."