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News Release: DOE Announces New Opportunities to Improve Commercial Building Energy Efficiency

April 21, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced support for energy-saving commercial building projects as part of an ongoing effort by DOE to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the United States. With money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, DOE’s national laboratories will select and fund technical experts to provide technical guidance to commercial building owners and operators.  The goal of this Commercial Building Partnerships (CBP) initiative is to increase the energy efficiency of selected new and existing buildings.

DOE's CBP initiative will foster collaborative relationships among the owners and operators of commercial buildings, researchers from DOE national laboratories and private-sector technical experts. Building owners receive technical expertise on how to design, build and maintain low-energy buildings that can reduce energy use and lower energy bills across their building portfolios. These collaborations help to move energy-saving strategies into the marketplace quickly and cost-effectively. Each of the CBP building projects will be documented in publicly available case studies that will provide detailed energy use data and best practices to other building operators across the country.

Three DOE national laboratories are managing this new effort: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

“CBP participants will create buildings with measured energy savings of at least 50 percent for new construction and 30 percent for existing buildings,” said Paul Torcellini, group manager for commercial building research at NREL. “This initiative is unique because it demonstrates that it's cost-effective to make buildings more energy efficient, and that energy-efficient buildings are easy to replicate.”

Applicants can apply through the laboratories for the following two initiatives:

Call for Energy Efficient Commercial Building Projects

To get involved, owners and operators of commercial buildings—retail and office buildings, for example—will submit plans for projects that will upgrade new or existing buildings, and they commit to working with the laboratories and technical experts to make these buildings significantly more energy efficient. Although they receive no direct funding, owners and operators have access to state-of-the-art technical guidance to implement energy efficiency technologies throughout the design, construction, and evaluation of their building and retrofit projects. This technical expertise includes guidance with energy modeling, assessing and choosing appropriate energy efficiency measures, and energy performance verification.

Online applications to the call for projects are due by May 10, 2010. Learn more about the call for projects and access the application.

Request for Proposals from Commercial Building Technical Experts

Technical expert teams and measurement and verification technical contractors interested in providing technical guidance to the successful applicants to the call for projects can respond to this request for proposals (RFP). Technical expert teams need to provide a broad range of technical expertise including all or some of the following areas: architecture, engineering, HVAC and controls, daylighting, lighting, energy modeling, commissioning, building auditing and data collection, and cost estimation. Using Recovery Act funding, the participating national laboratories will contract with technical experts to provide this guidance.

Completed proposals are due by May 10, 2010. Learn more about this opportunity and read the RFP.

Learn more about Commercial Building Partnerships and these new opportunities at the Building Technologies Program website.

NREL is DOE’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC


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—Heather Lammers