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Commercial Building Partnerships Come Together

Drawing of Buildings

The LOOP, in Isla Vista, CA, is a building project receiving technical assistance from DOE's Commercial Buildings Partnerships initiative to increase the energy efficiency of its design.

Earlier this year, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the second phase of its Commercial Building Partnerships (CBP) initiative, designed to establish collaborations to increase energy efficiency in new and existing commercial buildings.

Managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the effort teams laboratory researchers and private technical experts with commercial building owners and operators, to assist in the design, construction, and validation of low-energy buildings.

More than two dozen projects were selected in 2008 for the first phase of CBP, and those projects are currently under way. Then, last spring, NREL sent out a call soliciting new commercial partners to propose low-energy building projects. At the same time, Berkeley Lab sent out a request to identify private technical teams that would be qualified to assist the CBP commercial partners in this second round of projects. The second round will be financed by $21 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. Ever since the application deadline closed in May, the labs have been evaluating the submissions and matching the technical teams with selected projects.

Commercial Building Partnerships, Phase 2
Company/Facility Location
Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction; The Bullitt Foundation Seattle, WA
Center for Alternative, Renewable Energy, Technology and Training; Clark Atlanta University Atlanta, GA
The College of Architecture + Planning at the University of UT Salt Lake City, UT
The Defense Commissary Agency; Lackland Air Force Base San Antonio, TX
Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
Hines Somerset, NJ
The Home Depot Rocklin, CA
Living City Block Denver, CO
The LOOP at the University of CA; Mesa Lane Partners Santa Barbara, CA
Long Beach Gas and Oil Long Beach, CA
MA Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
OR Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center Portland, OR
Shy Brothers Farm Westport, MA
Sierra NV Job Corps Reno, NV
Smart Grid Development North Kingstown, RI
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Los Angeles, CA
University of CA Merced Merced, CA
University of SC Columbia, SC
U.S. Army Fort Bragg, NC
U.S. General Services Administration Portsmouth, NH
U.S. General Services Administration Region 9 locations
U.S. General Services Administration San Francisco
Walmart Two locations to be determined

The two- to four-year CBP projects are managed in six stages: predesign and planning, preliminary design, final design, construction and commissioning, performance verification and reporting, and deployment planning. At the end of each stage, the project is evaluated to ensure that it is progressing as expected and that it meets its predetermined criteria. The technical and business case studies prepared at the final reporting stage will be publicly available, so that other businesses can also benefit from the lessons learned during each project's implementation.

MIT's Stata Building

MIT's Stata Building is receiving technical assistance for an energy-efficient lighting retrofit project.

The CBP program is part of DOE's Commercial Building Energy Alliances (CBEA), which has the broad goal of transforming commercial building energy efficiency. Each of the winners, which were announced in late November, will receive between $200,000 and $1.2 million of technical assistance; funding does not go directly to the participants, but instead funds the technical experts from the national laboratory or private industry that work with the commercial partners and their design teams. The 23 newly selected partners (see sidebar) are located throughout the country and range from well-known retailers such as The Home Depot and Walmart to universities and military bases.

It is expected that the new buildings that CBP commercial participants will construct based on this program will achieve a minimum of 50 percent energy savings relative to ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, that retrofits of existing buildings will achieve a minimum of 30 percent energy savings, and that portfolio building retrofits will achieve substantial energy savings for more than one building system.

DOE/EERE's Commercial Building Partnerships

DOE News Announcement

NREL CBP Program Announcement

EETD article, "New Opportunities to Improve Commercial Building Energy Efficiency"

This work is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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