Accelerating Optimal Integration of Energy Efficiency Strategies with Industrialized Modular Construction: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) Industrialized Construction Innovation team first introduced the Industrialized Construction Assessment Framework to achieve affordable, net-zero energy (NZE) modular multifamily buildings in the 2020 ACEEE paper "Integrating Energy Efficiency Strategies with Industrialized Construction for our Clean Energy Future." Since then, NREL has continued to drive the ambitious plan to accelerate optimal integration of energy efficiency strategies during industrialized construction with little or no additional cost, labor, and production time. This follow-on paper introduces the Energy in Modular (EMOD) buildings method and presents NREL's research efforts over the last two years in collaboration with industry, including affordable housing partners. NREL has developed an idealized NZE modular multifamily building design that incorporates five energy efficiency strategies well suited for industrialized construction in factories: (1) envelope thermal control, (2) envelope infiltration control, (3) mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, (4) smart controls, and (5) solar plus storage. This paper highlights results from leveraging design for manufacturing and assembly principles, testing, and validation pilots with factory partners; demonstrating pod prototypes in test stand at NREL; and performing simulations. Overall, these research efforts address barriers to whole-building system integration, such as poor installation quality of thermal and air barriers; lack of unitized systems for space conditioning, energy recovery and ventilation, and water heating; problematic on-site installation, commissioning, and configuration of controls; and lack of cost-effective integration for grid-friendly design and emerging technologies. Conclusively, the paper delineates next steps for future work with NREL's partners toward developing a transformational pathway for our clean energy future.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 21 Aug 202226 Aug 2022


Conference2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-83264


  • affordable housing
  • building energy modeling
  • controls
  • design
  • design for energy efficiency
  • design for manufacturing and assembly
  • EMOD
  • energy efficiency
  • energy in modular buildings method
  • envelope
  • grid-interactive efficient buildings
  • industrialized construction
  • Industry collaboration
  • infiltration
  • MEP systems
  • modular construction
  • net-zero energy
  • prototyping
  • simulation modeling
  • solar plus storage
  • thermal performance


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