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October 20, 2016
Source: Pacific Northwest National Lab.
New International Agreement to Phase Out Climate-Harming Refrigerants Offers Opportunity for Innovation

Buildings in the U.S. consume 38.5 quads of energy annually, of which nearly half is used for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R). Traditional HVAC&R systems rely on a process called vapor compression to cool and heat our buildings, using a compressor to circulate liquid refrigerants, typically hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). HFCs are hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and can last for centuries when released into the atmosphere.

October 11, 2016
CBERD’s lifecycle assurance framework for the design, building, and operation of smart, high-performance buildings. Image courtesy of the CBERD team.
The Eagle and the Tiger: CBERD, a U.S.-India Partnership in Building Energy Efficiency Advancing Innovation

The United States and India have a long and successful strategic partnership in the energy sector. In November 2009, the United States and India launched the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), which is working to accelerate inclusive, low carbon growth by supporting research and deployment of clean energy technologies. Under PACE-R (research), the U.S. and India support research in solar energy, building energy efficiency, advanced biofuels, smart grid, and energy storage.

October 5, 2016
Autodesk Insight360 allows architects to explore the energy impacts of different design choices as they design. Insight360 uses EnergyPlus to calculate heating and cooling loads and now provides the option of using EnergyPlus to evaluate annual energy impacts. Credit: Autodesk.
Autodesk Upgrades Insight360 with EnergyPlus Annual Energy Simulations

At GreenBuild, Autodesk unveils an upgrade to its Insight360 suite of tools that will allow architects to run annual EnergyPlus simulations from within its popular Revit and FormIt design tools.

October 4, 2016
Better Buildings Launches Smart Energy Analytics Campaign to Help Commercial Buildings Achieve Greater Energy Efficiency

As part of Smart Cities Week, the White House recently announced a new Energy Department-led Smart Energy Analytics Campaign to encourage the use of cost-effective, energy-saving building analytics platforms – also known as energy management information systems technologies (EMIS) – in commercial buildings nationwide, and refine best practices.

October 3, 2016
The cost of LED A-type light bulbs has decreased by 94% since 2008, according to the 2016 <em>Revolution...Now</em> report.
Revolution...Now Rewind: 6 Questions with a Lighting Expert

Lighting Program Manager for EERE’s Building Technology Office, Jim Brodrick, sat down to discuss the 2016 Revolution…Now report that was released last week.

October 3, 2016
Spark is a free online tool that performs technical and financial analysis for building renewal projects, upgrade projects for leased commercial office buildings that target at least 35% annual energy savings. Credit: BetterBricks.
BetterBricks Leverages DOE Tools to Spark Deep Energy Retrofits

NEEA (Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance) is using EnergyPlus and OpenStudio to help drive building renewal, a real estate strategy that targets deep energy savings in leased office buildings.

September 28, 2016
Energy Department Announces 34 Winners of the 2016 Housing Innovation Awards

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today recognized 34 of the nation's leading builders at the 2016 Housing Innovation Awards during the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance's Excellence in Building Conference in Dallas, Texas.

September 28, 2016
6 Charts that Will Make You Optimistic About America’s Clean Energy Future

How wind, solar, LEDs and electric vehicles are leading the way in America's clean energy revolution, visualized in six simple charts.

September 28, 2016
Secretary Moniz Releases Report Showing the Cost Reductions and Rapid Deployment of Clean Energy Technologies

Report details the economic and environmental benefits our nation is already starting to realize thanks to the increased deployment.

September 27, 2016
Better Buildings Initiative Expanding to Increase Efficiency of U.S. Laboratories

As part of the Obama Administration's effort to cut energy waste in the nation's buildings and facilities, today the U.S. Department of Energy is launching the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator to advance energy efficiency in laboratory buildings owned and operated by universities, corporations, national laboratories, hospitals, and federal agencies.

September 26, 2016
Energy Department Launches Better Communities Alliance to Ignite Clean Energy Action in Cities and Counties Nationwide

The U.S. Department of Energy is launching the Better Communities Alliance (BCA), a new collaborative effort among 60 local governments, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, and leading private companies to accelerate local clean energy progress across the country. The BCA was announced today by the White House during Smart Cities Week.

September 26, 2016
Air Conditioning That's Out of This World

Reducing air conditioning energy use by using new materials to enhance the cooling effects from outer space may not be such a far-out idea. In a simulation study, PNNL researchers found that daytime radiative cooling—the physical process by which an object loses heat to another object of lower temperature—could reduce energy consumption of an office building by 30 to 50 percent.

September 22, 2016
Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz discuss energy issues. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.
New Study Reveals Options to Replace Global Warming-Causing Chemicals Used in Air Conditioning

The Energy Department is supporting efforts to phase down the global use of climate-change causing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling and refrigeration. These chemicals can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and last for centuries when released into the atmosphere.

September 21, 2016
BTO Standards Team Honored for Record-Breaking Work in 2015

At the Secretarial Honor and Presidential Rank Awards, the DOE Building Technologies Office’s Appliance and Equipment Standards (ASP) Program won a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award, under the leadership of John Cymbalsky, for its work last year on finalizing a record 13 standards, including the largest energy-saving standard in U.S. history. Award-winning teams must have demonstrated cooperation and teamwork en-route to accomplishing significant achievements on behalf of DOE and attaining their goals.

September 19, 2016
The Building Performance Database Has Grown to Nearly 1 Million Buildings

The Energy Department’s Building Performance Database (BPD), the nation’s largest dataset of energy-related building characteristics, has expanded to include data from over 950,000 commercial and residential buildings.

September 19, 2016
Photo credit: NREL.
How Are Building Codes Adopted?

A few months ago, we discussed what building energy codes are and more recently we looked at how they are developed and what role the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plays in that process. Today, we are going to take a look into the next step—how codes are adopted.

September 15, 2016
Miscellaneous Electric Loads: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Thanks in part to DOE’s Buildings Technologies Office (BTO) and its network of research and industry partners, many appliances and building technologies, such as air conditioning and solid-state lighting, have, and continue to, become more and more energy efficient, providing the same level of services or better at a lower energy cost.

September 15, 2016
The new OpenStudio-Standards Measure “Create Performance Rating Method Baseline Building” takes a model along with three arguments—code version, building type, and climate zone—and produces the corresponding ASHRAE 90.1 “Appendix G” baseline model. In this case, visible changes include removal of exterior shading and small changes in window area. Credit: Andrew Parker, NREL.
New OpenStudio-Standards Gem Delivers One Two Punch

A new Ruby gem, openstudio-standards, delivers two significant and closely related capabilities—creation of prototype building models and automated derivation of a code baseline building model.

September 14, 2016
ORNL mechanical engineer Ayyoub Momen works on a magnetocaloric proof-of-concept refrigeration prototype. Image credit: Jason Richards, ORNL.
ORNL Refrigerator Cools With Magnetism, Not Freon

Some metals do a remarkable thing when they’re placed within a magnetic field: They heat up. Remove the magnetic field, and they grow cold. It’s not difficult to see how this heating and cooling, known as the magnetocaloric effect, might be put to good use.

September 7, 2016
Appliance and Equipment Standards Program Manager Recognized for Leadership in Energy Efficiency

John Cymbalsky, program manager of Appliance and Equipment Standards within DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO), was recently recognized as a “Champion of Energy Efficiency” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

September 1, 2016
140 Million Places to Save Energy

I recently spoke with two distinct audiences about the importance of buildings in the U.S. energy space. Both the FEMP Energy Exchange conference and a group hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy had roomfuls of energy savvy professionals, many – but I suspect not all – of whom recognize the scope of opportunities the U.S. buildings sector offers for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

September 1, 2016
Scot Duncan, president of Retrofit Originality Incorporated, presenting the company's winning idea for a high-efficiency humidification system at Energy Exchange 2016.
Winner Announced for FEMP JUMP Call for Innovation

At the Energy Exchange 2016 earlier this month, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced the winner of the FEMP JUMP technology challenge to identify underutilized new or recently commercialized building technology solutions.

August 31, 2016
Energy Department Recognizes The Wendy’s Company, and its Franchisee Wendco Group, For Leadership in Energy Performance

Restaurant achieved a 37 percent total energy reduction or more than 50 percent energy savings per sales transaction, and nearly $8,000 in savings annually.

August 24, 2016
Second Round of Small Business Vouchers Pilot Awards 3 Small Businesses in Buildings Sector

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 43 small businesses, including three businesses working on buildings-related issues, to work directly with DOE national labs to accelerate the transformation toward a clean energy economy. Selected businesses will be afforded access to world-class laboratory resources to help move these innovative technologies into the market faster.

August 18, 2016
Financing Energy Efficiency in Retail

Driving the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through efficiency projects in the retail sector can be difficult, particularly when many energy managers lack awareness of financing mechanisms available to them to fund their projects.