New Buildings Institute Blog

The Not-So-New Next Big Thing: Retrofits

For several years, NBI has been exploring and researching strategies to drive deep energy savings across the existing commercial building sector. As we've noted before, there are upwards of 71.6 billion square feet of commercial space across the U.S. and significant energy savings potential to go with that. It's certainly a wise energy investment. Read more »

5 Steps to Plug Load Savings

Amy Cortese's picture

In the goal of reducing energy costs, businesses–-even those in the energy efficiency industry--have historically focused on upgrades to equipment and facilities, while largely ignoring occupant behavior. But as building systems improve in efficiency, the human side of the energy equation is becoming more important. Read more »

Commissioning (not just) for California

For many years, California has led the way in progressive energy efficient building measures, and the state is pursuing an aggressive long-term goal of making 50 percent of all existing commercial buildings net zero by 2030. To this end, the California Commissioning Collaborative recently organized a workshop that convened a broad cross-section of industry experts to explore market-driven ways to further promote increased building efficiency. Read more »

Initiating Energy Transparency

Trying to improve energy efficiency in the building sector without readily available energy data is a little like trying to lose weight when you don’t have a scale. Fortunately, the building industry stands to gain by a trend in transparency in energy data, including the Obama Administration’s recently-announced Energy Data Initiative (EDI). Read more »

Daylighting Done Right

Mark Lyles's picture

Incorporating natural light into building design has become an increasingly popular strategy that is dramatically improving energy performance and occupant satisfaction. Read more »

Reflections on Living Future 2012

So often we go to conferences, learn a few new things, feel inspired (or not), and return to work a little behind on our to-do lists. Living Future 2012, attended by a handful of us at NBI, was an exception. The purpose of the conference was to inspire, yes, but also to serve as a critical reminder of the need to act now for the future. Read more »

Rooftop Unit (RTU) Retrofits = Big Savings for Owners and Tenants

We already know that the efficiency potential for rooftop units (RTUs) is huge. They sit atop about half of the commercial floor space across the United States and since they're often neglected, less than optimal performance leaves building owners and tenants with higher than necessary utility bills. Now, new research by the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) quantifies that potential estimating energy savings between 28 and 67 percent. Read more »

Gen 2030: Working for the Next Generation

Cathy Higgins's picture

In the first quarter of 2012 NBI staff welcomed three new babies – all boys.  The obvious puns followed: New Boys Institute, New Babies Inevitable. Late last year the connection of these new lives joining us in 2012 occurred to me – particularly in light of the fact that my only child, a daughter, had turned 18 and left for university.  These new babies will turn 18 in 2030 – the target year for efforts and initiatives toward a reduction in carbon and an improvement in the course toward damaging climate change. Read more »

ULI/Greenprint Partnership Brings Key Players (and Dialogue) to the Table

“33% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the built environment.” That’s just one of the statements that regularly headlines the home page of the Greenprint Foundation. Read more »

The Best (Re)Invesment: Big Payoffs with Green Retrofits

It takes money to make money. The expression certainly applies to green retrofits: throw some cash at upgrading your 20+ year-old HVAC system and you’re likely to see the reduction in utility bills pay for the first costs and more before too long. You might call it an investment. Read more »