The Texas Allergy, Indoor Environment, and Energy (TxAIRE) InstituteEconomic Development
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the National Association of Home Builders project new U.S. "green building" construction to be a $60 Billion Dollar market, while the "green renovation" of buildings in the U.S. is estimated to be four times greater ($240 Billion). Defined by the nature of the funding which has created it, TxAIRE's primary mission is to be a catalyst and facilitator of "high-tech" economic development in East Texas. It is achieving this by leading in the development of new building technologies for improving
residential and commercial indoor air and environmental quality while reducing associated building energy usage costs. Working closely with other Texas economic development organizations, TxAIRE is accelerating the commercialization of these technologies within the HVAC and "green building" marketplace. The resulting creation of new products and services will result in significant expansion of existing companies and the creation of new business ventures throughout. Currently, TxAIRE has affiliations with over fifty companies across Texas.
Underlying the development of future building systems markets is the recognition of the impact that indoor environments have on human health, productivity, and general quality of life. We have evolved into a society that spends the majority of our lives indoors. We breathe in millions of particles, bacteria, and viruses every hour; and approximately half of the harmful toxins that enter our bodies are by inhalation. And yet, far too little is known about what we breathe and what it is doing to us.
Therefore, a third important dimension of TxAIRE is the identification and characterization of dangerous pollutants found in indoor environments; and the assessment of health and productivity effects associated with exposure to those contaminants. The TxAIRE sponsored human health projects described elsewhere in this site are focusing upon some of the most important and under-studied implications of air quality on human health. Funding for these projects is derived from a combination of federal, state and local agencies ranging from the National Institutes of Healt, to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
National Institute of Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The National Children's Study Texas Department of State Health Services
While technology commercialization is central to the TxAIRE mission, achieving this objective requires a strong technology development agenda. That agenda drives the creation of new and important intellectual property. The application of that knowledge then fuels the process of new product development and building design innovations.
To achieve this, TxAIRE is working with academic researchers, small start-up companies, as well as big companies to identify ways that it can accelerate the development, introduction and sale of new building systems products. Although TxAIRE is physically located on the University of Texas campus in Tyler, many of it's technology and product development projects involve researchers from other UT campuses. These projects are described in the "Technology Projects" sections of this website and range from the development of new low-cost sensing devices, to electrical storage systems for residential applications and new solar hot water heating products.
Several of the TxAIRE projects involve providing assistance to small high-tech start-up companies. Such assistance takes on many forms, from computer-aided design support to in-lab testing of prototype hardware. For larger companies, TxAIRE is assisting by incorporating their newest products into systems demonstrations that validate the improved performance claims of the manufacturer and help to educate the consumer about the new technologies being offered. The most visible example of this is the TxAIRE Homes project which will demonstrate and evaluate "green building" products manufactured by many companies across Texas. Through this project, architects, engineers, builders, realtors, and the home buyer will be able to learn all about homes which can generate all the energy they need, while being healthy and economically affordable.
As TxAIRE matures, it will also play an important role assisting the inventor to secure investment funding. Today TxAIRE already channels promising inventors to the existing network of Regional Centers of Innovation and Commercialization. TxAIRE is also developing relationships with local "angels" investment groups and venture capital firms. Technology commercialization opportunities that go through the TxAIRE due-diligence process will have much higher success rates. This process combines both an in-depth technology assessment, and a global market assessment, to guide its' investment of resources. Therefore projects developed within TxAIRE enjoy a much higher commercialization success rate. Thus, they are very attractive to outside private investors seeking opportunities to foster local economic development while realizing above average returns on their investments.