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.
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.
NorthBay VacaValley Hospital completed lighting retrofits to their 150,000 square foot parking lot and its 225 parking spaces. They did so with help from The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) at the University of California, Davis. The project has achieved 65% savings and received a 2014 Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign’s award for best use of lighting controls. In addition, the retrofits improved lighting maintenance operations and end-user satisfaction.
The lighting retrofit included replacing roughly 50 induction luminaires with new LED fixtures with embedded lighting controls.
The new LED fixtures were coupled with various kinds of lighting control systems, including a radio frequency (RF) connectivity control system that was installed in dedicated zones with passive- infrared (PIR) and long-range microwave sensors to achieve energy savings. An “ultra-smart” lighting control network was also put in place, giving facility managers the ability to adjust lighting schedules, light levels and time-out settings, monitor the system’s energy use, and receive automated alerts when luminaires require maintenance.
"This paper discusses the evidence regarding daylighting and student performance and development, and presents four case studies of schools that have cost effectively implemented daylighting into their buildings."
This study expands and validates previous research by Heschong Mahone Group that found a statistical correlation between the amount of daylight in elementary school classrooms and student performance. The researchers reanalyzed student performance data from two school districts to answer questions raised by the previous study. The results are consistent with the original findings and affirm that daylight has a positive and highly significant association with improved student performance.
A report with case studies on 15 Zero Energy schools in the U.S., prepared to help Baltimore City Schools in its building planning.
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 multimedia toolkit is designed to guide energy efficiency program administrators through the process of planning, implementing and measuring a large-scale, deep retrofit energy efficiency program for small-to-medium businesses (SMB). We provide downloadable tools and forms you can adapt for use in your own program.
This guidebook is a reference to help other program sponsors and implementers develop and deliver a full-scale and comprehensive small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) energy efficiency program that can achieve similar results. The online SMART Scale Toolkit accompanies this guidebook.
A demonstration of the SMART Scale model in the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) on over 700 projects indicates that an average whole building electricity savings of 20% from the baseline is possible while remaining cost-effective, with a cost of $0.0346 per lifetime kWh and an estimated total resource cost of 3.1. Previous generations of DI programs were capturing only 10% to 12% of whole building electricity savings through approaches dominated by lighting measures.