There is nothing small about the impact that small commercial buildings have on energy use in the United States. In fact, the 4.6 million small buildings across the nation consume 44% of the overall energy use in buildings, presenting an enormous opportunity to cut costs, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this potential, small building owners and operators face unique challenges that have historically impeded the adoption of widespread energy efficiency solutions. A new report developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examines these barriers and suggests a path forward to support cost-effective energy savings for the small buildings and small portfolios sector, which typically has limited resources to pursue energy efficiency solutions.
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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.
Argonne’s Energy Efficiency Decision Support Calculator is a simple tool that small business owners can use to quickly analyze the high-level economic impact of investments in energy efficient products, retrofits or capital improvements. This tool requires minimal input data and is accessible to anyone, regardless of their experience with energy issues. It is intended to complement many of the more involved, technology specific calculators that are referenced in Argonne’s “Resources for Informed Small Business Energy Efficiency Decision Making.”
This fact sheet summarizes recommendations for designing new office buildings that result in 50% less energy use than conventional designs meeting minimum code requirements. The recommendations are drawn from the Advanced Energy Design Guide for Small to Medium Office Buildings, an ASHRAE publication that provides comprehensive recommendations for designing low-energy-use office buildings with gross floor areas up to 100,000 ft2.
Designed as a stand-alone document, this fact sheet provides key principles and a set of prescriptive design recommendations appropriate for smaller
office buildings with insufficient budgets to fully implement best practices for integrated design and optimized performance. The recommendations have undergone a thorough analysis and review process through ASHRAE, and have been deemed an easily replicable combination of measures to achieve 50% savings in the greatest number of office buildings.
This fact sheet summarizes recommendations for designing elementary, middle, and high school buildings that will result in 50% less energy use than conventional new schools built to minimum code requirements. The recommendations are drawn from the Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings, an ASHRAE publication that provides comprehensive recommendations for designing low-energy-use school buildings.
Designed as a stand-alone document, this fact sheet provides key principles and a set of prescriptive design recommendations appropriate for smaller schools with insufficient budgets to fully implement best practices for integrated design and optimized performance. The recommendations have undergone a thorough analysis and review process through ASHRAE, and have been deemed an easily replicable combination of measures to achieve 50% savings in K-12 schools.
Dollars saved through energy efficiency can directly impact your bottom line. Whether you are planning for a major renovation or upgrading individual pieces of building equipment, these improvements can help reduce operating costs, save on utility bills, and boost profits. This fact sheet provides guidelines for SBA lenders to understand the value of financing energy efficiency investments.
The energy efficiency community has worked hard to engage lenders and consumers in what is estimated by the Rockefeller Foundation and Deutsche Bank to be a $279 billion market for energy efficiency investment. Great advances have been made in the federal and public sector’s program development arena, yet private sector transaction volume remains frustratingly low. In an effort to understand nuanced obstacles to market participation, ACEEE and Energi Insurance Services convened a group of small to mid-size lenders to discuss opportunities for increasing both lender and consumer participation in the energy efficiency space. Lender representation spanned state and local commercial banks, community banks, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), credit unions, and “green” lenders. This paper presents the obstacles identified in the convening and offers recommendations to the energy efficiency community to foster growth in the market for energy efficiency financing.
Small commercial buildings – those smaller than 50,000 square feet – offer substantial and immediate energy efficiency opportunities and cost savings. The Small Buildings and Small Portfolios (SBSP) sector contains 95 percent of all commercial buildings by number and represents 47 percent of the energy consumption in all non-mall commercial buildings. However this building stock has received little attention in the growing energy efficiency marketplace compared to larger and institutionally owned counterparts, in part because of the market’s vast scale, physical diversity, and the disparate interests of its stakeholders.
While acknowledging these challenges, this study estimates that profitable investments in energy conservation can generate $30 billion in annual energy cost savings, improving the financial performance of millions of small businesses throughout the United States.
7x7x7: Design Energy Water is an innovative program by the Division of the State Architect that encouraged California school districts to develop long-range master plans that reduce energy and water consumption on campuses and improve the quality of educational spaces. The State Architect engages seven architectural firms to develop seven conceptual case studies that reduce school energy and water consumption and result in better learning environments on seven different types of campuses (six K-12 schools and a community college). The seven campuses are representative of typical building types from different eras constructed across California’s varied climate zones. The purpose and primary goal of this program is to enable all existing K-14 facilities to be zero energy by 2030.
This guide provides user-friendly guidance for achieving a net zero energy K-12 school building. It includes a set of energy performance targets for all climate zones. Strategies on how to achieve these energy targets are provided throughout the guide and include setting measurable goals, hiring design teams committed to that goal, using energy simulation throughout the design and construction process, and being aware of how process decisions affect energy usage.
The how-to tips address specific project aspects-building and site planning, envelope, daylighting, electric lighting, plug loads, kitchens and food service, water heating, HVAC, and renewable energy generation. Each section contains multiple tips that move the design incrementally toward the zero energy goal. Case studies and technical examples show how the energy goals are achievable at typical construction budgets as well as demonstrate the technologies in real-world applications.
The intended audience of this guide includes educators, school administrators, architects, design engineers, energy modelers, contractors, facility managers, and building operations staff.
The "download" link will take you to the ASHRAE website, where you can download a free PDF of the Design Guide.