GSA’s Green Proving Ground (GPG) program is paving the way to bring promising sustainable building technologies into the built environment. By partnering with national research laboratories and leveraging its federal portfolio, GPG performs real-world evaluations on innovative technologies to assess their potential to reduce resource consumption and improve building performance. GPG strives to use these evaluations to recommend deployment not only for GSA’s portfolio, but also for the U.S. commercial building industry at large.

GPG is evaluating innovative technologies to make our buildings more sustainable. Today, GPG released four new sets of evaluation results.

Love your self-shading sunglasses? See how they work as windows!

Like your sunglasses, chromogenic windows are windows that tint automatically based on outside temperature and brightness–-and, in some applications, even as determined by automated building controls. By controlling in real time both heat and daylight as they pass through windows, chromogenic technology has the capacity to significantly reduce heating, cooling and lighting energy use. In an evaluation in Denver, Colorado, chromogenic windows significantly reduced heat gain over the baseline low-E window, reducing annual HVAC cooling electricity use by as much as 10 percent.

How can walls and roofs learn from refrigerators?
Vacuum Insulated Panels (VIPs) offer very effective insulation (achieving an R-value of 50, compared with code-compliant levels of R-9 to R-16) within a very slim profile, making them useful on roofs where adding bulk is costly. Originally designed for household appliances like refrigerators, GPG tested their suitability for building applications in an evaluation at a courthouse in Camden, N.J. Researchers found that VIPs were robust enough for building renovations, and that R-50 insulation can offer favorable payback in one-story buildings in regions with extreme climates and high utility costs.

How you can help prevent grid power failures and blackouts?
Multi-staged indirect evaporative coolers (IEC) use a unique air-processing technology that removes heat and moisture from outside air and delivers space conditioning using only a fraction of the energy consumed by mechanical air conditioners-–the single largest contributor to grid failures and blackouts in the United States. The Green Proving Ground recently evaluated three multistaged IEC systems installed at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Co. Findings included an 80 percent reduction in energy consumption and an average simple payback of 15 years in data centers.

How can we better ventilate our buildings by learning from motorcycles?
Using a notched design often found in motorcycle drives, cogged V-belts and synchronous-drive fan belts are a low-investment way to reduce the inefficiencies in ventilation fans caused by belt slippage and bending resistance. The Green Proving Ground put cogged V-belts and synchronous drive belts to the test on two different fans in the Byron G. Rogers Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Denver, Colorado. Findings included up to 20 percent energy savings and simple payback of less than four years.

Find these reports, nine previously released reports, and more information about GSA’s Green Proving Ground program.