This Fact Sheet provides an overview of the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines project. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) are working with industry stakeholders to develop voluntary national guidelines that will improve the quality and consistency of commercial building workforce training and certification programs for five key energy-related jobs.
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OpenStudio development efforts have been focused on providing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) where users are able to extend OpenStudio without the need to compile the open source libraries. This paper will discuss the basic purposes and functionalities of the core libraries that have been wrapped with APIs including the Building Model, Results Processing, Advanced Analysis, Uncertainty Quantification, and Data Interoperability through Translators. Several building energy modeling applications have been produced using OpenStudio's API and Software Development Kits (SDK) including the United States Department of Energy's Asset ScoreCalculator, a mobile-based audit tool, an energy design assistance reporting protocol, and a portfolio scale incentive optimization analysis methodology. Each of these software applications will be discussed briefly and will describe how the APIs were leveraged for various uses including high-level modeling, data transformations from detailed building audits, error checking/quality assurance of models, and use of high-performance computing for mass simulations.
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.
Action oriented workbook designed for churches and community centers. The workbook lays out a process for reducing energy consumption and saving money including tips and worksheets to identify energy savings measures and estimate energy savings. The workbook was produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with assistance from DOE.
A net zero-energy community (ZEC) is one that has greatly reduced energy needs through efficiency gains such that the balance of energy for vehicles, thermal, and electrical energy within the community is met by renewable energy. Past work resulted in a common zero-energy building (ZEB) definition system of “zero energy” and a classification system for ZEBs based on the renewable energy sources used by a building. This paper begins with a focus solely on buildings and expands the concept to define a zero-energy community, applying the ZEB hierarchical renewable classification system to the concept of community. A community that offsets all of its energy use from renewables available within the community’s built environment and unusable brownfield sites is at the top of the ZEC classification system at a ZEC of A. (A brownfield site is where the redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.) A community that achieves a ZEC definition primarily through the purchase of new off-site, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) is placed at the lowest end of the ZEC classification but is still considered a good achievement.
Access to foundational energy performance data is key to improving the efficiency of the built environment. However, stakeholders often lack access to what they perceive as credible energy performance data. Therefore, even if a stakeholder determines that a product would increase efficiency, they often have difficulty convincing their management to move forward. Even when credible data do exist, such data are not always sufficient to support detailed energy performance analyses, or the development of robust business cases.
One reason for this is that the data parameters that are provided are generally based on the respective industry norms. Thus, for mature industries with extensive testing standards, the data made available are often quite detailed. But for emerging technologies, or for industries with less well-developed testing standards, available data are generally insufficient to support robust analysis. However, even for mature technologies, there is no guarantee that the data being supplied are the same data needed to accurately evaluate a product’s energy performance.
To address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy funded development of a free, publically accessible Web-based portal, the Technology Performance Exchange™, to facilitate the transparent identification, storage, and sharing of foundational energy performance data. The Technology Performance Exchange identifies the intrinsic, technology-specific parameters necessary for a user to perform a credible energy analysis and includes a robust database to store these data. End users can leverage stored data to evaluate the site-specific performance of various technologies, support financial analyses with greater confidence, and make better informed procurement decisions.
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.
A solar ready building is engineered and designed for solar installation, even if the solar installation does not happen at the time of construction. The solar ready design features, if considered early in the design process, are typically low or no cost. Attention to building orientation, available roof space, roof type, and other features is key to designing solar ready buildings.
This report contains the findings from interviews with senior finance executives at retail companies regarding financial planning and capital budgeting strategies. The report and the supplementary key takeaways deliverable are meant to help energy and sustainability managers improve their relationships with the finance team and ultimately improve access to project financing. The interviews were conducted by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Deloitte Consulting LLP.