PIER Research Results

CEC supportSince 2000 NBI has been a part of major energy efficiency research on behalf of the California Energy Commission through the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) endeavor. NBI’s latest PIER research program, Evidence-based Design and Operations, began in 2008 and was completed in March 2013, with the goal improving the measured energy performance of the next generation of commercial buildings. NBI led the program and worked with a team of research partners on four project areas: 1) high performance buildings measured performance: feedback and key performance indicators for whole-building and system-level energy analysis, 2) plug load energy savings strategies, 3) skylight system and materials performance using computer simulation, and 4) fault detection and diagnostic protocols for rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.

The full program report includes per-project chapters summarizing the objectives, method and findings. 

Final Program Report: Evidence-Based Design and Operations PIER Program

Related projects, reports and other information are available below. Each chapter from the full report is available as a Final Research Summary Report. Appendices referenced in the full final report are reflected by the reports and other information. 

High Performance Buildings Measured Performance

The objective of this first project was to develop feedback tools for designers, operators/owners and tenants as aids to reduce building energy use. The research team examined energy bills and conducted site monitoring beginning with 22 new high performance buildings in California to assess measured energy compared to code and design. The project also determined the energy use impact of building features and operations (Sensitivity Analysis), identified key performance indicators (KPIs) that simplify the representation of building energy performance, and introduced FirstView™, a tool that identifies areas to investigate for potential efficiency improvements.

Final Research Summary Report: High Performance Buildings Measured Performance

Sensitivity Analysis: Comparing the Impact of Design, Operation, and Tenant Behavior on Building Energy Performance 

Key Performance Indicators — Field Metering Study and Energy Performance Feedback

More Information:
FirstView: Diagnostic Software and Services for Building Energy Performance 

Key Performance Indicators for Commercial Buildings

Plug Load Savings and Assessment

The objective of the Plug Load Savings Assessment research project was to characterize the electricity consumption of office equipment plug load devices and identify opportunities for energy savings. Plug loads are increasingly contributing to building energy consumption. As other aspects of building energy use are reduced, plug loads become an increasingly large percentage of building overall energy use. This project element conducted an in-depth assessment in two buildings of the extent to which plug load energy use (computers, printers, monitors, cell phone chargers, etc.) can be reduced through relatively simple, cost-effective measures.Plug Load Guide

Final Research Summary Report: Plug Load Savings and Assessment

Commercial Office Plug Load Savings and Assessment: Executive Summary 

Commercial Office Plug Load Field Monitoring and Assessment 

Plug Load Methodology Paper and Case Study on PECI Office/Metrics Paper

Plug Load Policies: In Place, Pending and Possible 

Plug Load Best Practices Guide

More Information:

Plug Load Best Practices Guide for Offices

Skylight Modeling and Validation

The objectives of the Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation project (Skylight Modeling Research) were to define, develop and validate accurate computer simulation methods for producing skylight photometric data. This project provided information needed for design teams to more consistently and successfully integrate daylighting and electric lighting.

Final Research Summary Report: Skylight Modeling and Validation

Skylight Testing and Validation Report (Daylighting Innovations/AEC) 

More Information:
IESNA Skylight Testing Poster

Rooftop Unit Fault Detection and Diagnostics

The objective of the Rooftop Unit (RTU) Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) research project was to improve the potential energy performance in HVAC RTUs of 5-50 tons in California through three research outcomes: 1) develop and deploy software for evaluating diagnostic protocols that identify and measure the severity of operating faults in RTUs, 2) conduct a market assessment on the availability, usability and cost-benefit ratio of commercially available FDD products, and 3) propose a minimum standard for FDD functionality to Title 24 part six of the California Nonresidential Energy Efficiency Standards.

Final Research Summary Report: Rooftop Units FDD

A Method For Evaluating Diagnostic Protocols for Packaged Air Conditioning Equipment 

Rooftop HVAC FDD: Technology and Market Review with Energy and Demand Savings Estimates

More Information:
Title 24 Final FDD Language and Explanation

FDD Evaluator Tool 0.1.1