Start Year: 2013

US DOE: Consortium for Building Energy Innovation (CBEI) – Formerly the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub)

Established by the Department on Energy in 2011, this 5-year initiative has the objective of reducing energy use in existing commercial buildings by 30% or more. In partnership with many other organizations including Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, NJIT, UTRC, ASHRAE, Bayer Material Science, and the University of Maryland, the Center provided leadership on multiple sub-tasks of the project and conducted multidisciplinary research in the areas of occupant-behavior and human-machine interface (HMI); building modeling and simulation of occupant behavior; and codes and standards.

While most of our work involves field studies and data collection from a variety of sources, our occupant behavior activities in particular engage building occupants through online surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews as well as observing operating conditions of existing buildings that have been retrofit with energy efficient technology. Similarly, our HMI work looks to facilities operators and managers to help define their needs and provide feedback on improving energy efficiency through more user friendly building management system (BMS) design. Building simulation modeling is able to incorporate our field data to calibrate the models for more accurate estimates of occupant activities in the design of energy efficient buildings. Finally, partnering with members of public and private sectors, our code compliance and benchmarking assessment efforts are working to define criteria for best practices applications, and to identify challenges for implementing standards through a range of building types. Through our collective tasks we anticipate producing methods and applications guidelines for scaling up design and standards throughout the market.