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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The lack of empirical data on the energy performance of buildings is a key barrier to accelerating the energy efficiency retrofit market. The DOE’s Buildings Performance Database (BPD) helps address this gap by allowing users to perform exploratory analyses on an anonymous dataset of hundreds of thousands of commercial and residential buildings. These analyses enable market actors to assess energy efficiency opportunities, forecast project performance, and quantify performance risk using empirical building data. In this paper, we describe the process of collecting and preparing data for the database, and present a peer-group analysis tool that allows users to analyze building performance for narrowly defined subsets of the database, or peer groups. We use this tool to explore a case study of a multifamily portfolio owner comparing his buildings’ performance to the peer group of multifamily buildings in the local metro area. We also present a performance comparison tool that uses statistical methods to estimate the expected change in energy performance due to changes in building-component technologies. We demonstrate a low-effort retrofit analysis, providing a probabilistic estimate of energy savings for a sample building retrofit. The key advantages of this approach compared to conventional engineering models are that it provides probabilistic risk analysis based on actual
measured data and can significantly reduce transaction costs for predicting savings across a portfolio.
While the availability of “big data” about building energy performance is increasing in response to market demands and public policies, the lack of standard data formats is a significant ongoing barrier to its full utilization. To overcome this barrier, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) developed the Building Energy Data Exchange Specification (BEDES).
BEDES is designed to enable the exchange, comparison, and combination of empirical information by providing common terms and definitions for data about commercial and residential building’s physical and operational characteristics, energy use, and efficiency measures.
This paper describes the BEDES development process, scope, structure, and plans for implementation and ongoing updates.
The Smart Monitoring and Diagnostic System (SMDS) is a low-cost technology that helps building owners and managers keep rooftop air conditioner and heat pump units (RTUs) operating properly at peak efficiency. The SMDS technology has the potential to significantly benefit small commercial buildings, which predominately use RTUs for space conditioning. Through the Better Buildings Alliance, a field demonstration was conducted at four sites using two SMDS prototypes. This case study provides a summary of the field demonstration results.
The full report is available at: https://buildingdata.energy.gov/cbrd/resource/1927
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 article appears in the July 2016 issue of the ASHRAE Journal (pgs. 38-45). Brief summary:
The U.S. Department of Energy's Building Performance Database (BPD) is the largest publicly available data source for energy-related characteristics of commercial and residential buildings in the United States, collected from federal, state, and local governments, utilities, and private companies. The BPD provides anonymized building energy use and asset data with analytical capabilities to help energy service providers, real estate owners and managers, policy makers, and energy consultants make decisions about energy efficiency and retrofit projects.
This article examines some of the promises and perils of having large amounts of building data at the user's fingertips and how to use such data and statistical analysis tools effectively to support decision-making by energy professionals.
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.
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.
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.
Designed as a resource for those who want to develop community solar projects, from community organizers or solar energy advocates to government officials or utility managers. By exploring
the range of incentives and policies while providing examples of operational community solar projects, this guide will help communities to plan and implement successful local energy projects. In addition, by highlighting some of the policy best practices, this guide suggests changes in the regulatory landscape that could significantly boost community solar installations across the country.