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Commercial Buildings

At an estimated cost of $38 billion a year, lighting represents the largest source of electricity consumption in U.S. commercial buildings. A new breakthrough by the Energy Department's <a href="/node/712411">National Renewable Energy Lab</a> could help  commercial buildings save on lighting and ventilation costs by improving the accuracy of motion detection.

At an estimated cost of $38 billion a year, lighting represents the largest source of electricity consumption in U.S. commercial buildings. A new breakthrough by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Lab could help commercial buildings save on lighting and ventilation costs by improving the accuracy of motion detection.

Commercial buildings have high energy needs and can put great strain on the nation's power grids during peak periods. Developing more efficient buildings helps ensure a steady supply of affordable power and significantly lowers operating costs for business.

The Department of Energy works to develop and deploy cost-effective solutions that help increase efficiency and reduce the cost of powering commercial buildings. Through research, best practices and the Better Buildings Initiative, the Department is working with businesses to create a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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Tapping University Students for Energy Efficiency Business Solutions
The Better Buildings Case Competition challenges the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policymakers to devise actionable ways to cut energy waste and improve commercial building efficiency. Last year, Yale's team (pictured here) won best proposal for their solution on how the federal government could meet energy-savings goals in government buildings across the United States. | Photo courtesy of the Energy Department.

Learn how university students are developing energy efficiency solutions that private-sector organizations and state and local governments can replicate.

ARPA-E and the Military Team Up on New Technologies and Summit Partnerships
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks to attendees at the 2011 Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, DC. | Energy Department photo.

New technologies could change the way troops stay cool and warm on the battlefield -- and save energy and money for the military along the way.

10 Questions for a Mechanical Engineer: Michael Brambley
Pictured here is Michael Brambley in front of equipment that supplies chilled water to PNNL Building Diagnostics Laboratory's air handler. The cooled air from an air handler is distributed to terminal boxes, which are the last point for controlling air temperature and flow before distributing it throughout a building zone. In a new control strategy for commercial buildings, the terminal boxes would process the information collected by occupancy sensors to control the air handler's fan speed for energy savings. | Photo courtesy of Kristin Nolan, freelancer.

As a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Dr. Michael Brambley is working to improve the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings. In this "10 Questions," learn how he is marrying engineering and computer technology to cut energy waste in commercial buildings.