From the Lab to the Marketplace (1995)

From the Lab to Implementation—
The Center for Building Science Applications Team

The Center for Building Science's Applications Team (the "A-Team") marshals LBNL's unique capabilities and networks to conduct field projects whose purpose is to deploy advanced energy-efficiency and indoor environmental quality concepts in both the U.S. and overseas buildings sectors. The aims of the Team are to:

  • Demonstrate proven and emerging building technologies in order to accelerate their adoption by consumers and building professionals.
  • Elevate professional standards of practice.
  • Transfer new energy management methods and tools to the private sector.
  • Provide feedback to the federal energy R&D planning process.

The A-Team's philosophy is to apply an integrated approach to retrofitting existing buildings and designing new ones. This approach encompasses the various stages of a building life cycle as seen from the perspective of facilities management, addressing the areas of energy, illumination, comfort, and the indoor environment.

The Facilities Management Building Lifecycle.  (Clockwise) Identify Constraints/Opportunities; Partnering (utilities, trade allies, researchers); Design/Audit/Instrumentation; Demonstration/Pilot Project; Construction; Commissioning; Monitoring/Feedback;

The A-Team assembles project teams from the 250-person staff in the Center's three research programs, LBNL's In-House Energy Management Program (IHEM), other research organizations and laboratories, and private firms. The IHEM program managed a study and retrofit budget of $18 million through 1994 for LBNL's own facilities, including project planning, financial analysis, engineering, procurement, construction management, commissioning, monitoring, and evaluation. One of IHEM's notable achievements was completion of DOE's first comprehensive performance contracting agreement with a private energy services company for retrofit of a laboratory building.

To accomplish its goals, the A-Team also makes use of its relationships with other professionals in energy-efficiency implementation from R&D centers across the country— government agencies, electric and gas utilities, state energy offices, manufacturers of energy- efficient technologies, and technical committees that define energy-related standards and guidelines.

Bridging R&D in Practice

The A-Team forges a new link between existing DOE building R&D activities and deployment initiatives. A-Team activities will benefit R&D program planners by providing improved feedback and recommendations for eliminating inefficiencies and missed opportunities during the implementation of new technologies and methods in the field. More specifically, the A-Team

  • Develops, implements, and evaluates proven, cost-effective energy-efficiency measures in existing buildings.
  • Assembles confidence-building demonstrations of emerging technologies and energy management practices not commonly used by building professionals.
  • Develops and disseminates state-of-the-art field guidelines and protocols, for example, for measurement and verification.
  • Demonstrates the potential for achieving energy savings while maintaining or improving indoor environmental factors influencing human productivity and well- being such as indoor air quality, lighting quality, and thermal comfort.
  • Transfers design and application methods and tools to private-sector practitioners such as architecture and engineering firms that collaborate with the A-team.
  • Supports energy savings performance contracting on a national level.
San Francisco's Presidio viewed from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco's Presidio viewed from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge.

In the Field

The A-Team benefits private-sector building professionals by raising market awareness of the value of energy efficiency, for example, through high-profile demonstrations and independent verifications of performance and cost-effectiveness and by partnering with private-sector firms on specific projects. Feedback from these efforts is also valuable in product development and marketing.

A-Team services are available to federal agencies, utilities, states, regional or national efficiency program designers, and large public, private, or institutional building owners. To maximize their impact, the A-Team chooses projects selectively, emphasizing high-visibility, replicability, and the specialized services and resources possessed by LBNL and project collaborators. Examples include creating a master plan for energy efficiency retrofits at the Presidio of San Francisco in cooperation with DOE and the National Park Service, conducting super-audits of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control towers and other facilities, and investigating ways that California industries can reduce energy costs in their laboratory facilities.