Energy Department announces $6.5 million to scale up the energy efficiency of U.S. commercial buildings

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number: DE-FOA-0001518

The Building Technologies Office (BTO) has announced the availability of $6.5 million for DE-FOA-0001518, “Scaling Up the Next Generation of Building Efficiency Packages.” BTO seeks proposals driving innovation in real building technology demonstrations while also fostering the collaboration of dynamic demonstration teams. The General Services Administration (GSA) Green Proving Ground program is a key collaborator, will participate in the review committee, and offer demonstration host sites.

Successful applicants will propose high impact real building demonstrations led by strategically structured teams who will identify and verify the cost and energy performance of multi-system energy efficiency packages (groups of technologies that improve efficiency across two building systems: envelope, lighting/electrical, plug, process, heating, ventilation, cooling, refrigeration, energy management and information, sensors and controls).

The objective of this funding is to generate and disseminate data, case studies, and information that lowers perceived risk regarding the efficacy and economic benefits of innovative and under-utilized commercial building technology packages that can save significant amounts of energy in new and existing commercial buildings. Demonstrations of the technology packages funded through this FOA are likely to meet the investment hurdles for the commercial real estate market at scale, but may not at the current time, and will have the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption in U.S. commercial buildings. The technical and/or non-technical products of this funding will enable investment-level decision-making, and will accelerate the development of utility programs for packages of technologies that meet cost-effectiveness thresholds.

A Teaming Partner List is attached in EERE Exchange. Proposed projects or approaches may reference the goals in the BTO Multi-Year Program Plan. Interested parties should consider responding to the GSA Green Proving Ground Program Request for Information GS-00-P-17-CY-C-7001.

More information, submittal requirements, and instructions for applying to this funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001518) can be found on the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange website. To be eligible for consideration, a concept paper must be submitted no later than 11/21/2016 5:00 PM ET. Questions about this FOA may be sent to

Submission Deadlines

  • Submission Deadline for Concept Papers: 11/21/2016 5:00 PM ET
  • Submission Deadline for Full Applications: 2/21/2017 5:00 PM ET

Informational Webinar

Please join BTO’s Commercial Buildings Integration Program for an overview of this funding opportunity. Register soon, space is limited.

  • November 2, 2016 at 12:00 PM ET


Preserving historical buildings: the most sustainable thing is not to build new stuff

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Making heritage buildings sustainable is just as important as preserving their history – and they can offer energy-efficiency lessons of their own.

Meet The Resident Beekeeper At Ford Motors

Read the full story in Fast Company.

On her lunch break at work, while her coworkers go to the cafeteria, Mary Mason often heads outside to sit in an orchard and check on the company bees. Mason, an engineer at Ford Motor Company, is the resident beekeeper for the 80,000 honeybees that live in hives next to one of the company’s factories in Michigan.

A New Healthy Building Certification From The CDC Is Coming To Your Office

Read the full story at Fast Company.

A new tool that will help employers create healthier workplaces is getting off the ground.

Fitwel is a health and wellness standard for buildings developed by the CDC, the General Services Administration (the government agency that runs federal office buildings). After testing it in government facilities, it was released to the public a few months ago, with the help of a New York City nonprofit, the Center for Active Design. It’s aimed at helping employers evaluate all the design factors that go into creating a healthy workplace, from proximity to public transit, bike parking, indoor air quality, healthy food access, and stairwell design.

UL Introduces SPOT™ Online Database – The Largest Credible Product Sustainability Information Tool

Read the full story from UL.

UL today introduced SPOT™, a web-based product sustainability information tool that will facilitate the selection of credible green products and enable the design community to apply that information into the Building Information Modeling (BIM) workflow. Currently featuring more than 40,000 products, SPOT database will be a first of its kind tool for architects, designers and specifiers to identify products by sustainable attributes, MasterFormat product codes and building rating system credits such as LEED v4 and the WELL Building Standard™. To enhance the mobile experience, UL’s SPOT app is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Better Buildings Initiative Expanding to Increase Efficiency of U.S. Laboratories

As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings and facilities, today the U.S. Department of Energy is launching the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator to advance energy efficiency in laboratory buildings owned and operated by universities, corporations, national laboratories, hospitals, and federal agencies. Through the new Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator, partners will pursue ambitious energy-saving targets and strategies that will address key barriers to improving energy efficiency.

A typical laboratory is nearly four times more energy intensive than an average commercial building and can account for up to 70% of a given campus’ energy footprint. It’s estimated that if all laboratory buildings improved their energy efficiency by 20%, annual energy and cost savings could reach about 40 trillion British Thermal Units or $1 billion.

“Working together, Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator partners will create road maps that they and organizations across the country can use to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of their labs and reduce costs,” said Kathleen Hogan, U.S. Department of Energy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. “Low-cost operational changes, more capital-intensive technological upgrades, and robust strategic energy management systems are all approaches that will be explored and developed through this Accelerator.”

The following organizations announced they are joining the Smart Labs Accelerator, committing to improve the efficiency of their laboratories by 20% in 10 years, with 5% savings coming within 3 years through no- and low-cost measures:

  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Colorado

Through the Accelerator, these partners will collaborate, share results, lessons learned and solutions to demonstrate best practices approaches, detail no- and low-cost energy saving practices, advance industry driven guidance regarding metering and benchmarking, identify code-related barriers to efficiency and recommend changes, and develop post-Accelerator next steps. As solutions are developed, they will be made available on the Better Buildings Solution Center.

DOE national laboratories, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, are supporting the Smart Labs Accelerator in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories. They will provide partners with technical expertise, tools, and training and facilitate network opportunities.

Better Buildings Accelerators are part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, which aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade. Through Better Buildings, public and private sector organizations across the country are working together to share and replicate successful strategies to drive energy efficiency. This means saving billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating thousands of jobs.

Do green buildings really save energy? A look at the facts

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

There isn’t enough data available to indicate that, on average, “green buildings” save more energy than conventional buildings.

At best, these green buildings perform no better and no worse on primary energy savings, making government policies requiring their construction a questionable mandate and raising questions about effective methods to reduce energy consumption in buildings.

Commercial and residential buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of United States primary energy use (PDF). As such, improving the energy efficiency of buildings is a key source of reducing energy use.