Small buildings have been left behind in the energy efficiency marketplace because financial and technical resources have flowed to larger commercial buildings (PGL 2013). DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) works with the commercial building industry to accelerate the uptake of energy efficiency technologies and techniques in existing and new commercial buildings (DOE 2013). BTO recognizes the SBSP sector’s potential for significant energy savings and the need for investments in resources that are tailored to this sector’s unique needs. The industry research and recommendations described in this report identify potential approaches and strategic priorities that BTO could explore over the next 3–5 years that will support the implementation of high-potential energy efficiency opportunities for this important sector.
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A recast of a presentation done for the Fairfax Chapter of Association of Energy Engineers in November of 2013. Presentation focuses on the the Advanced Energy Design Guides published by ASHRAE with association of AIA, USGBC, and IES with funding and technical support from DOE, NREL, and PNNL. In addition, the DOE Advanced Retrofit Guides are also discussed. Both sets of guides are available for download from this resource database.
This document lists a set of resources that can help small business owners make informed decisions about their energy use and identify opportunities for long-term financial savings from energy efficiency improvements. These resources include case studies, energy savings and investment calculators, technical guides and information on state and federal incentives programs.
Paul Torcellini, principal engineer with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, discusses how we can achieve zero-energy buildings by integrating the cost of energy efficiency into design decisions. This is the first presentation captured from Ecobuilding Review’s 2014 Vision 2020 Sustainability Summit.
This guide covers each major step in procuring a solar photovoltaic (PV) system:
- Conducting technical and financial studies
- Financing a PV system
- Project execution
- Operations and maintenance
- Assessing benefits
The guide provides information on the basic steps, key considerations, and where to go for more information. It is intended to provide an overview and some level of detail, with pointers to highly detailed information and resources.
The small buildings and small portfolios (SBSP) sector face a number of barriers that inhibit SBSP owners from adopting energy efficiency solutions. This pilot project focused on overcoming two of the largest barriers to financing energy efficiency in small buildings: disproportionately high transaction costs and unknown or unacceptable risk. Solutions to these barriers can often be at odds, because inexpensive turnkey solutions are often not sufficiently tailored to the unique circumstances of each building, reducing confidence that the expected energy savings will be achieved. To address these barriers, NREL worked with two innovative, forward-thinking lead partners, Michigan Saves and Energi, to develop technical solutions that provide a quick and easy process to encourage energy efficiency investments while managing risk.
The pilot project was broken into two stages: the first stage focused on reducing transaction costs, and the second stage focused on reducing performance risk. In the first stage, NREL worked with the non-profit organization, Michigan Saves, to analyze the effects of 8 energy efficiency measures (EEMs) on 81 different baseline small office building models in Holland, Michigan (climate zone 5A). The results of this analysis (totaling over 30,000 cases) are summarized in a simple spreadsheet tool that enables users to easily sort through the results and find appropriate small office EEM packages that meet a particular energy savings threshold and are likely to be cost-effective.
Momentum behind zero energy building design and construction is increasing, presenting a tremendous opportunity for advancing energy performance in the commercial building industry. At the same time, there is a lingering perception that zero energy buildings must be cost prohibitive or limited to showcase projects. Fortunately, an increasing number of projects are demonstrating that high performance can be achieved within typical budgets. This factsheet highlights replicable, recommended strategies for achieving high performance on a budget, based on experiences from past projects.
There is mounting evidence that zero energy can, in many cases, be achieved within typical construction budgets. To ensure that the momentum behind zero energy buildings and other low-energy buildings will continue to grow, this guide assembles recommendations for replicating specific successes of early adopters who have met their energy goals while controlling costs. Contents include: discussion of recommended cost control strategies, which are grouped by project phase (acquisition and delivery, design, and construction) and accompanied by industry examples; recommendations for balancing key decision-making factors; and quick reference tables that can help teams apply strategies to specific projects.
NREL experienced a significant increase in employees and facilities on our 327-acre main campus in Golden, Colorado over the past five years. To support this growth, researchers developed and demonstrated a new building acquisition method that successfully integrates energy efficiency requirements into the design-build requests for proposals and contracts. We piloted this energy performance based design-build process with our first new construction project in 2008. We have since replicated and evolved the process for large office buildings, a smart grid research laboratory, a supercomputer, a parking structure, and a cafeteria. Each project incorporated aggressive efficiency strategies using contractual energy use requirements in the design-build contracts, all on typical construction budgets. We have found that when energy efficiency is a core project requirement as defined at the beginning of a project, innovative design-build teams can integrate the most cost effective and high performance efficiency strategies on typical construction budgets. When the design-build contract includes measurable energy requirements and is set up to incentivize design-build teams to focus on achieving high performance in actual operations, owners can now expect their facilities to perform. As NREL completed the new construction in 2013, we have documented our best practices in training materials and a how-to guide so that other owners and owner’s representatives can replicate our successes and learn from our experiences in attaining market viable, world-class energy performance in the built environment.