DOE Offers $21 Million in Commercial Building Energy Assistance

December 1, 2010

DOE announced on November 30 that 24 projects are receiving a total of $21 million in technical assistance to reduce the energy used in their commercial buildings. This initiative, supported with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will connect commercial building owners and operators with multidisciplinary teams including researchers at DOE's national laboratories and private sector building experts. The teams will design, construct, measure, and test low-energy building plans, and will help accelerate the deployment of cost-effective energy-saving measures in U.S. commercial buildings.

Through DOE's Commercial Building Partnerships, teams comprised of private sector technical experts and personnel from national laboratories will help guide projects to achieve 30% measured energy savings in existing buildings and 50% energy savings in new construction projects. About half of the two dozen projects focus on energy efficiency upgrades for existing buildings. The three-year projects will provide comprehensive business and technical case studies for broad publication, including actual energy performance data from the completed projects, to help spur wider adoption of energy-efficient building practices across the industry. The projects are funded with a public/private cost-sharing agreement, under which the building owners and operators contribute at least 20%.

Three DOE national laboratories—Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory—will manage the effort and provide technical assistance for the selected projects. Each project will receive technical assistance valued at between $200,000 and $1.2 million, depending on the scope and nature of the plan. Among those selected projects are the Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction, Seattle, Washington; the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; and the Shy Brothers Farm, Westport, Massachusetts. See the DOE press release and Web sites for DOE's Commercial Building Initiative, and Building Technology Program.