WASHINGTON — As part of the Obama administration’s effort to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings and double energy productivity by 2030, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $6 million to accelerate energy efficiency in offices, shops, schools, and other buildings that will help businesses and communities save money, create jobs, and reduce pollution.

“The energy department is committed to partnering with market leaders who demonstrate cutting-edge energy-efficient technologies and practices in new and existing commercial buildings,” said David Danielson, DOE’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “These low-energy building solutions will reduce air pollution and help building owners and operators save money on their operating costs through best practices that can be replicated by others.”

In total, the eight competitively selected projects will receive $6 million with the private sector cost sharing reaching a total investment of $12.5 million.

The eight projects will demonstrate at least one approach for improving commercial building energy use by up to 50 percent that can then be replicated across the country. Each project is aimed at increasing the widespread use of high-priority tools and technologies supported by the DOE.

Last year, commercial buildings accounted for approximately 20 percent of total U.S. energy use, the equivalent of about 18 quadrillion Btu of energy. The DOE estimates owners and occupants could save billions of dollars annually by investing in cost-effective, energy-saving technologies. These investments could potentially lead to greater demand for new building products and technologies, many of which are produced and developed in the U.S.

The projects selected to receive funding include the city of Milwaukee and its 11 partners, which will receive $750,000 to demonstrate retrofit approaches in up to 200 commercial buildings across Wisconsin; the Energy Center of Wisconsin, which will receive $1 million to demonstrate new approaches for procuring new high-efficiency buildings through its Accelerate Performance project that emphasizes setting explicit high-efficiency performance goals when buying a new building and performance benchmarking; the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) will receive $1 million to develop an innovative toolkit based on DOE’s Standard Energy-efficiency Database and other resources to enable cities and energy-efficiency program administrators to better analyze building energy data for delivering energy savings more successfully; the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, which will receive $560,000 to advance the use of highly energy-efficient technologies in commercial buildings in California; Performance Systems Development’s OpenEfficiency Initiative, which will receive $1 million to design, develop, and deploy an open-source technology platform that links DOE’s tools and solutions to deliver cost-effective energy savings of at least 20 percent in more than 300 commercial buildings in three states; and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and its project partners, who will receive $750,000 to improve energy savings in the retail sector by helping energy managers secure financing for efficiency projects.

Publication date: 6/8/2015

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