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Publication Information | Credits | Sources of More Information | Energy Crossroads

The Center for Building Science Newswas a publication of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division from 1993 through 1998. It has been replaced by Environmental Energy Technologies Division News,whose first issue appeared in Spring 1999. A complete index of the CBS Newsletter is available as a downloadable file by pressing here. Also, bound editions of all issues of the CBS News will be available for a limited time. Email here to request a copy.

Center for Building Science News #18, Summer 1998

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Reducing the Federal Energy Bill
It costs billions of dollars and uses more energy than any other entity in the U.S. What is it? Answer: the Federal government. In fiscal year 1995, the Federal government spent $8 billion on a net energy consumption of 1.15 quadrillion BTUs. While that may be a lot of energy in absolute terms, the numbers have been improving for years. Compared with fiscal year 1985, the 1995 energy-use figure is down by 22.5% and the costs are down $2.5 billion.
A Survey: Indoor Air Quality in Schools
We recently undertook a survey and critical review of the published literature on indoor air quality, ventilation, and IAQ- and building-related health problems in schools, particularly those in the state of California.
International Energy-Efficiency Standards
Two cost-effective approaches to reducing energy use in buildings are minimum energy standards for appliances and incorporating energy-efficiency principles in building codes. EETD has pooled its resources in the field to energy-efficiency standards with its international activities to create the International Building and Appliance Standards team.
EnergyPlus: The Merger of BLAST and DOE-2
EnergyPlus is a new Department of Energy-supported project that will merge two major building energy simulation programs, DOE-2 and Building Loads Analysis and System Thermodynamics (BLAST).
Departments
News from the D.C. Office

Center for Building Science News #17, Winter 1998

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Five-Lab Study Examines Carbon-Reduction Strategies
As the world steps up its efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, policymakers and international negotiators are looking to the scientific community to provide answers to some important technical questions. To contribute some of the answers, the U.S. Department of Energy recently released a study called "Scenarios of U.S. Carbon Reductions: Potential Impacts of Energy Technologies by 2010 and Beyond." Five national laboratories and dozens of researchers contributed to the study, which was led by Berkeley Lab's Mark Levine, Director of the Environmental Energy Technologies Division and Oak Ridge National Lab's Marilyn Brown.
Reducing Leaking Electricity
A surprisingly large number of appliances-from computer peripherals to cable TV boxes to radios-consume electricity even after they have been switched off. The energy used while the appliance is switched off or not performing its primary purpose is called "standby consumption" or "leaking electricity." Nationwide, leaking electricity requires the operation of eight large power plants that emit roughly twelve million tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
The Efficient Window Collaborative
The U.S. Department of Energy and key players in the U.S. window industry have formed the Efficient Window Collaborative, whose goal is doubling the marketshare of efficient windows by 2005. The Center's Windows and Daylighting Program and the Alliance to Save Energy are managing this effort jointly.
Efficiency of Exterior Exposed Ductwork
Most of California's commercial buildings have thermal distribution systems. It is estimated that 63% of these distribution systems are air-based and distribute air through duct. Thermal distribution ductwork systems in small commercial buildings are similar to those in residential construction and have the same leakage and conduction-loss problems.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #16, Fall 1997

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The Home Energy Saver: Interactive Energy Information and Calculations on the Web
The Internet is an important new resource for information about energy efficiency. While many applications amount to little more than reformatting static text into Web pages, the Internet shows its true potential when it lets users interactively obtain customized information. An example is the Center's Home Energy Saver, which was the first Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings.
Utilities Group Aids in Restructuring Process
Center researchers are helping ensure that energy efficiency, renewable energy, and a host of other important issues are not overlooked as California and the nation restructure the electric power industry.
THERM: Two-Dimensional Building Heat- Transfer Modeling
THERM 1.0 is a state-of-the-art tool for modeling two-dimensional heat-transfer effects in building components. The thermal property information THERM provides is important for the design and application of building components such as windows, walls, foundations, roofs and doors.
Thermal Performance of Phase-Change Wallboard for Residential Cooling
Phase-change materials are a potential source of thermal mass in residential construction. Researchers at the Center have used RADCOOL, a thermal building simulation program based on the finite difference approach, to perform a numerical evaluation of the latent storage performance of PCM-treated wallboard.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #15, Summer 1997

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The Future of Buildings Research at LBNL: An Interview with Mark Levine
Mark Levine is the newly appointed Director of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (formerly Energy & Environment). He was the head of the Energy Analysis Program from 1986 until his appointment in March. Three of EETD's programs-Building Technologies, Energy Analysis and Indoor Environment-focus heavily on buildings research. In the following interview, Levine discusses the future of buildings research in the Division.
Building Software Tools with Interoperability
Software programs for designing energy-efficient buildings and subsystems have a problem: their inability to exchange data easily. A new organization, the International Association of Interoperability, is working to change this by creating an interoperable environment for building software tools. Center researchers have been involved with this effort since its inception.
Improved Productivity and Health from Better Indoor Environments
Recent analyses suggest that improving buildings and indoor environments could reduce health-care costs and sick leave and increase worker performance, resulting in an estimated productivity gain of $30 to $150 billion annually.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Industrialized Countries
Center researchers have analyzed the patterns of emissions from end uses of energy and electricity production in ten OECD countries. Emissions in many countries in the early 1990s were lower than those in the 1970s in an absolute sense and on a per capita basis. However, factors that reduced emissions in the past are not having the same effect in the mid-1990s.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #14, Spring 1997

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LBNL's In-House Energy Management Program
To save energy and money by applying energy-efficient technology and practices in its own facilities, as well as set an example for the rest of the world, Berkeley Lab launched an energy-savings program in 1985. The efforts of the In-House Energy Management Program (IHEM) have led to an annual savings of $2.3 million in energy costs at Berkeley Lab.
A Sulfur Lamp and Fixture Demonstration at SMUD
Researchers at the Center's Lighting Research Group have developed the first high-efficiency lighting fixtures to capitalize on the extraordinary brightness and remarkable energy efficiency of the award-winning sulfur lamp. Through a partnership between Berkeley Lab and Cooper Lighting, a major U.S. lighting manufacturer, prototypes of these new fixtures have been installed at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
The China Energy Group
The Center's China Energy Group has worked closely with energy policymakers in China for nearly a decade. It's goal is to better understand the dynamics of energy use in China and to develop and enhance the capabilities of institutions that promote energy efficiency in that country.
Indoor Air Quality in New Energy-Efficient Houses
In 1993, researchers at the Center's Indoor Environment Program began investigating indoor air quality in new energy-efficient houses. Measurements at five houses in the eastern U.S. reveal the presence of persistently elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and odors, the causes of which are under investigation.
New Division Name and Director
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #13, Winter 1997

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Twenty Years of Lighting Research
For two decades, the Center for Building Science has been a leader in the energy-efficient lighting area, helping the U.S. chip away at its $38 billion annual lighting energy bill.
Hammer Award Honors a Federal Building's Energy-Efficient Retrofit
Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review has given a Hammer Award to a team of private and public entities including several Center researchers. The team is working to turn San Francisco's Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue into a showcase of energy-efficient technologies with the potential to cut a billion dollars from the federal government's annual energy bill.
Residential Ventilation & Energy
Indoor Environment Program researchers have used existing databases to estimate the energy and indoor air quality liabilities associated with residential ventilation in the U.S. housing stock, and how scenarios of energy conservation and ventilation strategies change those liabilities. Their results indicate that bringing ventilation levels up to ASHRAE standards could save 38 EJ of energy and $2.4 billion.
Residential Building Code Compliance
Energy use in residential buildings in the U.S. is significant-about 20% of primary energy use. While several approaches reduce energy use such as appliance standards and utility programs, enforcing state building energy codes is one of the most promising. Research on the rate of compliance within the building community found substantial variation from house to house and region to region.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #12, Fall 1996

To Media Tip Sheet

Energy-Efficiency Strategies for Insurance Companies
Global climate change is in the news again, partly because the insurance industry has taken notice of the threat climate change poses to its business. Recent research at the Center for Building Science suggests that selected efficiency strategies can help protect against insurance losses while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, a winning proposition for the insurance industry.
The High-Radon Project
For several years, researchers on the High-Radon Project in the Center's Indoor Environment Program have been developing a statistical methodology for estimating regional indoor radon concentrations across the United States. The purpose of this work is to help state or other agencies identify high-radon counties or areas more precisely so that these authorities can focus their indoor monitoring and control efforts effectively.
Urban Heat Catastrophes
Last year's Chicago heat wave increased the number of deaths in Cook County by more than 700 over five days. Epidemiological studies of heat-wave deaths have contributed useful information on the reasons for the deaths, but the role of buildings and their interior conditions has been largely unexamined. A new study by the Center's Energy Analysis Program examines building conditions during the heat wave.
Energy-Efficient Torchieres for Residential Applications
There has been a significant increase in sales of imported torchiere light fixtures in the American market, resulting in a large increase in residential lighting energy use and a significant challenge to energy efficiency programs throughout the country. The Center's Building Technologies researchers have developed a series of novel energy-efficient torchiere systems using compact fluorescent lamps.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #11, Summer 1996

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The Center's Web Works
The global Internet has quickly become the number-one source of information on energy efficiency. Recent developments in networking technology and software have attracted some 50 million users, including energy-related groups such as utilities, buildings professionals, and a wide variety of private companies. The following are some Web-based activities underway in the Center.
Gas-Filled Panels for the Building Thermal Envelope
Buildings designed for low energy use and thermal comfort require good insulating materials. The Center's Building Technologies Program has been studying the potential of gas-filled panels, which are composed of thin polymer films and a low-conductivity gas, as an advanced insulation system in the building envelope.
Emissions Control Failures in Passenger Cars
When an automobile's emissions control system fails, it may be because that model is more prone to failure than most others, according to a study conducted by the Center's Energy Analysis Program and Marc Ross of the University of Michigan. This finding goes against the conventional wisdom that such failures are usually caused by owners who don't maintain their cars properly or deliberately disable their emissions systems.
Energy Management in Semiconductor Cleanrooms
Cleanrooms are used extensively in the manufacturing of integrated circuits and in the biological and pharmaceutical industries. For low particle concentrations to be maintained, the air in the cleanroom must be filtered. Researchers in the Center's Indoor Environment Program are studying ways of reducing cleanroom energy using a technique called demand-controlled filtration.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #10, Spring 1996

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Green Cooling: Improving Chiller Efficiency
Chillers are the single largest energy consumers in commercial buildings. These machines create peaks in electric power consumption, typically during summer afternoons. The phase-out of CFC refrigerants, intended to protect the ozone layer under an international agreement, has triggered an unprecedented wave of chiller replacements that will accelerate during the next 10 years. Energy-efficiency measures implemented in conjunction with chiller retrofits can reduce the load and therefore the required chiller size, making the change more economical overall and can decrease chiller plant energy consumption by more than 50% while improving their reliability and helping the environment.
Subsurface Gasoline Contamination
In a field study of an abandoned gasoline station at the Alameda Naval Air Station, California, the measured indoor air concentration of volatile organic compounds was three orders of magnitude lower than what is typically observed. Both biotic and physical effects appear to be operating to reduce VOC levels.
Residential Assessment of Market Potential
This project of the Energy Analysis Program helps the Environmental Protection Agency design programs that reduce pollution by increasing the market penetration of energy-efficient products in residences.
Windows as Luminaires
Recent advances in technology have helped make the window an ally in efforts to save lighting energy. Properly managed, the new window technologies can help minimize unwanted solar gains in summer and heat losses in winter without squandering valuable daylight. on.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #9, Winter 1996

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Cutting Energy-Efficiency R&D: Penny-wise and Petro-foolish
While Congress moves to cut or eliminate a host of government energy-efficiency programs, little thought is being given to the billions of dollars of energy savings that will be forfeited by American homes and businesses. As oil imports eclipse levels that preceded the first energy crisis, as scientists discover yet more evidence of global climate change, as energy bills become a higher percentage of income for the poor, and as our competitor countries expand their energy R&D spending, we should look before we leap into slashing tomorrow's programs in the name of "efficiency."
PowerDOE: A Visual Analysis Tool
PowerDOE is a new PC-based tool for simulating building energy performance. To be released in April 1996, it combines the capabilities of the DOE-2.1E simulation program with an easy-to-use graphical user interface.
A Report to the World Energy Council
A two-year research effort has culminated in the release of a 500-page study titled "Energy Efficiency Improvement Utilizing High Technology." The report was presented to 5,000 participants attending the 16th Congress of the World Energy Council in Tokyo last October.
UV Waterworks
Waterborne diseases in the developing world kill more than 400 children every hour. Researchers have devised an ultraviolet water-disinfection device based on off-the-shelf fluorescent lamp technology that costs $300 and produces safe drinking water for 2¢ per ton.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report

Center for Building Science News #8, Fall 1995

To Media Tip Sheet

Building Data Visualization
Data visualization for buildings is the display of a rich set of variables and parameters that managers can use to verify the energy savings of energy-efficient technology and identify malfunctions in building equipment or problems with operating strategies. A research project at the Center for Building Science is aimed at developing data visualization techniques for improved building management.
Aerogel: Energy-Efficient Material for Buildings
Aerogel has great potential in a wide range of applications that include energy-efficient insulation and windows, acoustics, gas-phase catalysis, battery technology, and microelectronics. Researchers in the Energy Conversion and Storage Program have been studying both the basic properties of aerogel and techniques to refine its desirable qualities, such as transparency and insulating efficiency.
Center Research Supports Electric Utility Restructuring
The electricity industry in the U.S. is being dramatically restructured by state regulatory commissions and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Efforts are underway to create a wholesale market for electricity, with prices to distributing utility companies no longer being regulated. The work of researchers in the Energy Analysis Program is helping regulators and industry better understand their options.
VOC Exposure Metrics and "Sick Building Syndrome"
Indoor Environment Program researchers have developed new exposure metrics for volatile organic compounds that account for the high variability in "potency" of different VOCs to elicit symptoms of sick building syndrome.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
The A-Team Report
Energy Currents

Center for Building Science News #7, Summer 1995

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Assuring Building Performance: Creating BLISS
Despite significant advances in building technology and tighter building codes, buildings consume one-third of all energy used in the U.S. at a cost of $200 billion/year, half of which is wasted compared to what is cost-effectively achievable. Providing designers, builders and operators with consistent information throughout the life-cycle of a building provides opportunities for reaching performance potential. A new project of the Center is developing an interoperable set of software tools that will respond to the needs of each phase of a building's life-cycle, and will be linked by a shared informational infrastructure called the Building Life-cycle Information Support System.
New Tool for Energy-Efficient Fixtures
Researchers in LBL's Lighting Systems Research Group have been conducting a series of studies on the efficiency of a wide cross-section of CFL fixtures using a newly built apparatus known as a "goniophotometer".
Energy and Ventilation Research in Highrise Apartments
Historically, multifamily buildings have been the most neglected building sector for retrofit activity in utility and federal programs, but the last ten years have seen impressive advances in several aspects of improving the energy efficiency of these buildings.
Appliance Efficiency Standards, Part 2
Appliance efficiency standards provide a minimum requirement for energy efficiency at the point of manufacture. They seek to overcome market failures—including price distortions, transaction costs, and bounded rationality—which have historically given rise to a gap between observed and attainable product efficiencies.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities
Sponsors

Center for Building Science News #6, Spring 1995

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FEMP at LBL
DOE's Federal Energy Management Program coordinates the federal effort to reduce its own energy use. FEMP plans to use 30% less energy by 2005 than it used in 1985, as well as conserve water. LBL is one of three national labs providing support to FEMP's efforts.
Appliance Efficiency Standards
In 1987, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act established the first national standards for refrigerators and freezers, furnaces air conditioners, and other appliances, and established a schedule for possible updates. The national economy benefits by about $1000 for every federal dollar expended on this program.
Sulfur Lamps - The Next Generation of Efficient Light?
Sulfur lamps are a revolutionary new light source that efficiently provide a spectrum of light similar to solar radiation. They are long-lived and maintain their efficiency and light output over their entire lifetimes, unlike conventional sources whose outputs typically diminish by 75%.
An Inexpensive CO Passive Sampler
Indoor Environment Program researchers are developing an inexpensive CO passive sampler designed for large-scale indoor surveys in cooperation with The Quantum Group of San Diego. The technology could also be adapted as an occupational hazard sensor or as a residential warning system.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities
Sources
Sponsors

Center for Building Science News #5, Winter 1995

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From the Lab to the Marketplace. . .
Facing the U.S. Department of Energy is the challenge of harnessing the power of its national laboratories in the post-cold-war era. With a workforce of more than 30,000 scientists and engineers and a world-class R&D infrastructure, the labs are a major national asset. Responding to the Secretary of Energy's Task Force on Alternative Futures for the DOE National Laboratories, the Center has reviewed its history of doing research for the benefit of the U.S. economy and the environment. Some of Our Partners . .
Energy Efficiency Takes Root at the Presidio of San Francisco
Plans are under way for an Institute for Sustainable Development at the Presidio. One of the Institute's first and most important initiatives is to establish energy efficiency and renewable energy training.
Envelope and Lighting Technologies to Reduce Electric Demand
By taking an integrated systems approach to combining disparate building envelope and lighting components, we can attain higher energy savings and improved occupant comfort compared to conventional energy-efficient design practice. This approach is the basis of a research project in the Building Technologies Program to develop and promote advanced integrated building systems.
Aerosol-Based Duct Sealing Technology
In a typical house with ducts in the attic or crawlspace, approximately 20% of heating and cooling energy is lost through duct leaks. An aerosol-based sealing technology developed by scientists in the Indoor Environment Program is an inexpensive new way to seal ducts. Commercializing a New Technology
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities
Energy Currents
An Energy-Efficient Plan to Stop Cholera
Sponsors

Center for Building Science News #4, Fall 1994

To Media Tip Sheet

The Applications Team is Here!
The Center's newly founded Applications Team (the A-Team) is ready to do business with the public and private sectors. It marshals LBL's unique capabilities and networks to conduct field projects aimed at deploying advanced energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality concepts in both the U.S. and overseas buildings sectors
Hydronic Radiant Cooling Systems
This rediscovered technology uses less recirculated air to cool buildings, saving energy and improving the quality of the indoor environment. An LBL simulation model of hydronic radiant systems is under development and will eventually become part of the PowerDOE building simulation software.
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Workshop
The U.S. Country Studies Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Assessment Workshop held in June brought together scientists from 16 nations to develop plans for halting the growth of GHG emissions.
Smart Thermal Skins for Vehicles
LBL is studying advanced solar control glazings and insulating shell components for automobiles that can save one to two billion gallons of gasoline per year in the U.S. These technologies not only improve a vehicle's thermal comfort, but also its safety, by reducing glare and heat, and its weight and cost, by reducing the size of the air conditioner.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities
Education
Energy Currents
LBL Scientist Joins Clinton Administration
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
LBL-Russia Collaboration on Lighting
Sponsors

Center for Building Science News #3, Summer 1994

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Our Hand in the Greening of the White House
In an effort to provide leadership by example, the Greening of the White House project is bringing new technology, enlightened operations and management practices, and revised procurement procedures to the White House. Experts from the Center for Building Science were among those participating in an audit aimed at improving the efficiency and reducing the waste from the First Residence and the adjacent Old Executive Office Building.
Developing a Methodology for Identifying High-Radon Areas
The second and final part of this series describes the Indoor Environment Program's research on finding the homes with a high probability of radon exposure.
Monitoring Buildings with Energy Management and Control Systems
Buildings that have an EMCS may already have an energy monitoring system as well—with a little adaptation.
Is Demand-Side Management Economically Justified?
Recent work by the Energy Analysis Program examines the value of utility DSM efforts.
Computer-Based Design Tools
Easier-to-use features in the upcoming releases of PowerDOE and EDA will help architects proliferate energy-efficient buildings.
Departments
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities
A Viewgraph from the Director
Visitors from Far and Wide
Energy Currents
China Information Service
Greening Our House
Web Update
Sponsors

Center for Building Science News #2, Spring 1994

To Media Tip Sheet

Energy Efficiency Through Multimedia
Educational kiosks and design tools for more energy-efficient buildings are on the multimedia project slate in the Building Technologies Group.
Carrying the Ball on Radon
Since 1978, LBL's radon group has been the mainstay in making scientific advances needed to sustain a sensible strategy for controlling indoor radon. Unfortunately, that strategy has yet to be implemented.
Heat Islands: And How to Cool Them Off
White paint and shade trees are simple, effective solutions for lowering air conditioning energy use.
The California Healthy Buildings Study
Researchers try to identify the factors in office buildings that cause adverse health symptoms.
Seeing Windows Through
The National Fenestration Rating Council works with LBL scientists to develop a window energy rating standard.
Bringing Better Planning to Gas Utilities
The gas utilities industry looks at integrated resource planning with the help of Center energy analysts.
Departments
A Viewgraph from the Director
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities
Visitors Far and Wide
Awards and Citations
Energy Currents
CIEE Conference at Berkeley
Center Scientists Assist Mexico
World Wide Web Information Services
Patents
Sponsors

Center for Building Science News #1, Winter 1993

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Twenty Years of Energy and Environment
Established less than two weeks after the first OPEC oil embargo began in 1973, E&E was born into a world that was learning spectacular lessons about the effects of unrestrained energy consumption on the environment and the economy.
Not Cool to Be Hot
Fluorescent lamps run up to 15% more efficiently with technology developed at LBL.
Appliance Surveys
Residential appliance saturation surveys furnish information about the growth of energy-efficiency measures.
Airvest
A new invention lowers workers' exposure to hazardous sprays while saving ventilation energy.
On the Energy Edge
Energy-saving buildings in the Pacific Northwest are teaching scientists new tricks.
Caltrans Retrofit
The California Department of Transportation retrofits its Marysville office's lighting with the Center's help.
Departments
A Viewgraph from the Director
News from the D.C. Office
Center Research Facilities: The Environmental Chamber
Visitors Far and Wide
Awards and Citations
Energy Currents
An ADEPT Way to Promote Efficiency
Retrofit Legislation at the Urban Level
Center Becomes Co-Sponsor of the ECEEE Summer Study

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