The Energy Department announced recently it is investing $19 million in advanced building projects to improve the efficiency of the nation’s homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants and stores.

The advanced building technologies will help American consumers and businesses save money on their utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs, said the DOE.

Specifically, the projects will develop sensors and energy modeling tools to make buildings smarter, reduce refrigerant leaks and improve the efficiency of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems. They will also produce a low-impact, gas-powered heat pump that can operate efficiently in colder climates.

In addition, the projects will support renewable energy market penetration through energy storage, pinpoint air leaks and reduce energy losses through the building envelope, and cut electricity use by transmitting sunlight to building interiors.

At more than 40 percent of the total national energy demand, buildings consume the most energy in the country—with a third of this wasted. The annual energy bill stands at $430 billion. According to the Doe, if 20 percent of energy usage could be reduced by 20 percent, this would lead to savings of nearly $80 billion in annual energy bills.

“Improving the efficiency of our nation’s buildings presents one of our best opportunities for cutting Americans’ energy bills and slashing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.

“These innovative technologies will make our buildings smarter, healthier, and more efficient, driving us toward our goal of reducing the energy use intensity of the U.S. buildings sector by 30 percent by 2030,” he added.