Lead Performer: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – Berkeley, CA
-- ICF International – Fairfax, VA
-- United Technologies – Farmington, CT
-- Lutron – Coopersburg, PA
-- Johnson Controls – Milwaukee, WI
-- Rocky Mountain Institute – Basalt, CO
-- Citibank – New York, New York
-- National Resource Defense Council – Washington, DC
-- New Buildings Institute – Portland, OR
-- Paulson Institute – Chicago, IL
-- Institute for Market Transformation – Washington, DC
-- Harvency Energy Efficiency Technologies
-- New York City Office of Sustainability – New York, NY
-- China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance
-- U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program
-- China Academy of Building Research – Beijing, China
-- Tsinghua University – Beijing, China
-- China State Construction and Engineering Corporation – Beijing, China
-- Energy Foundation – San Francisco, CA
-- Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) Center for Science and Technology of Construction (CSTC) – Beijing, China
-- Shenzhen Institute for Building Research – Shenzhen, China
-- China Association of Building Energy Efficiency
Project Term: April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2021


The U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) is a pioneering research and development (R&D) consortium bringing together governments, key policymakers, researchers, and industry to develop a long-term platform for sustainable U.S.-China joint R&D. Technology alone will not solve current climate change challenges – new regulations and market solutions are needed.

Building Codes: Current energy codes in the United States and China consider only a limited number of the factors that impact building energy performance. They don’t address all factors of design and construction that affect performance, and they don’t address how a building uses energy once it’s completed. The project is undertaking research and pilot demonstrations on outcome-based codes (where actual energy use is the metric by which building performance is evaluated), delivering new model codes and a methodology to develop and enforce codes based on actual building performance.

Data Transparency and Benchmarking: In recent years, municipal governments globally have determined that building energy performance benchmarking and data transparency laws are effective in encouraging the development of a strong market for building energy efficiency. While important, benchmarking and data transparency laws are only valuable if they inspire action (i.e., retrofits of underperforming buildings), yet data transparency policies and tools to conduct consistent and cost-effective post-benchmark audits at scale are lacking. This project seeks to fill this gap by developing a free, open-source, public-access online software tool (based on Johnson Control’s LEAN Energy Analytic Tool and the ASHRAE Inverse Modeling Toolkit) that supports up-front assessment of retrofit opportunities and monitoring and verification of energy and cost reductions in buildings.

Financing: While it is widely understood that curbing energy usage in buildings at scale requires involvement from capital markets, few structures exist in the market today for institutional investors to deploy capital, resulting in the absence of energy efficiency as an asset class. In general, capital markets would operate where the credit-worthiness of project owners can be efficiently aggregated and assessed. This project will identify and pilot new financial products, policies, and tools that allow capital markets to better assess creditworthiness of projects, thereby driving energy efficiency investment at scale.


This project can expand the global market for energy efficiency technologies by $60 billion annually by 2025.


DOE Technology Manager: Antonio Ruiz
Lead Performer: Nan Zhou and Carolyn Szum, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Related Publications