Developing Solutions to Commercial Building Benchmarking and Transparency Challenges

Using Benchmarking to Get to Energy Efficient Retrofits

The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation is hosting an in-person and virtual day-long workshop to share and further develop solutions related to building energy benchmarking and transparency policy and programs. The objective will be to engage members of the benchmarking and transparency community, building owners, real estate finance professionals, real estate services, building designers, builders, utilities, and suppliers of energy efficient building strategies and their service providers in discussion and collaboration to identify solutions to make it easier for the community to achieve desired results. 

The event will be organized according to three panels and idea-generation activities: on the ways we can use benchmarking and transparency policy to increase the energy efficiency of the building stock; ways to make the data capture processes in benchmarking and transparency programs more effective; and ways the technical resources can help make benchmarking and transparency useful for driving retrofits.

Read more at the Events link.


About CBEI

The Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI) is focused on generating impact in the small- and medium-sized commercial buildings (SMSCB) retrofit market. Located at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia, CBEI develops and demonstrates systems solutions in a real-world regional context for future national deployment.

As 95% of commercial buildings in the US are small- or medium-sized, CBEI’s research into and deployment of energy efficiency solutions for SMSCB is paramount.

Bringing together 14 organizations including major research universities, global industrial firms, and national laboratories from across the United States, CBEI is dedicated to creating pathways to 50% energy reduction in existing buildings by 2030. Numerous senior investigators and graduate students are actively engaged in CBEI research projects.

CBEI headquarters

Starting in Spring 2014, CBEI will be located in The Center for Building Energy Science at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia.

Building 661 CBEI headquarters

The Center for Building Energy Science is an innovative example of the type of advanced energy retrofits that are needed throughout the region and the country. The intent is to demonstrate how integrated design and construction methods can result in the cost-effective reduction of building energy use by at least 30 percent. Divided into three separate programmatic zones – with appropriate integrated mechanical systems applied in each – the building functions as a living laboratory to showcase multiple energy saving technologies, with built-in monitoring and verification strategies for testing and performing energy efficiency research. Monitoring is critical to demonstrate performance, validate energy models, and provide case studies for industry-wide adoption.

Integrated Energy Efficient Design and Delivery

The integrated design and delivery process serves as an example for industry to follow. This process includes establishing a new and different governance structure to guide the project, and a collaborative team that works together to make decisions for the design of the buildings. CBEI facilitated a meeting of building stakeholders – including owner, occupant, architect, construction management, and contractor representatives – to collectively identify project values in a pre-design workshop. The workshop concluded that the project values should include collaboration, learning, performance, predictability, and certainty, among others. Successive decisions were made using the filter of the accepted project values. This process increases quality and efficiency, decreases waste, and fosters greater collaboration among stakeholders.

Building 661 CBEI headquarters

Energy Efficiency Measures

The Center for Building Energy Science features exposed mechanical and lighting approaches, real time monitoring, and public education spaces. Energy efficiency measures include:

  • Passive and active chilled beams serving large public spaces and workrooms

  • Under floor air delivery with displacement diffusers serving the second floor high-occupancy spaces

  • Variable refrigerant volume system serving the first floor offices

  • Dedicated outdoor air (DOA) unit with exhaust air energy recovery (enthalpy wheels)

  • Demand controlled ventilation

  • High efficiency condensing hot water boiler

  • Heat recovery chiller providing regenerative heating and reheat during cooling season

  • Automatic lighting controls in all non-utility spaces, vacancy/occupancy control in enclosed spaces, and time of day controls in common areas

  • High efficiency LED lighting

  • Optimal levels of spray foam insulation added to walls (R-value 24) and roof (R-value 30) to reduce heat loss

  • New double glazed low-emissivity (low-e) argon-filled units with thermally broken frames to replace existing windows, with higher performance glazing on the south facing windows and skylights

  • Manual interior shades below skylight

  • Trees on east and south side of the building to prevent glare and to act as exterior shade

  • Reduced overall lighting power by approximately 8.5% below ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline