Resource Library

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Publish Date: April, 2014

This study investigates the anticipated cost differential between a set of three reference buildings designed to the LEED Platinum standard and those same three buildings conceptually designed for deep energy efficiency, net zero energy, net zero water and adherence to the Living Building Challenge™. The study summarizes the cost premium range for each building type, uncovers challenges associated with the large size of commercial buildings in the District of Columbia and provides policy recommendations for addressing them.

Publish Date: February, 2014

Zero net energy (ZNE) projects, policies and programs are emerging across North America. Several states and local agencies have integrated a zero net energy goal into their long-term energy policy and program strategies. This slide deck presents opportunities and lessons learned that can benefit states and local jurisdictions as they develop similar policies and programs. Speakers include:  David Hewitt, NBI Director of Strategic Partnerships; Jim Edelson, NBI Policy Director; Christopher Wagner, Program Manager at NASEO;  Janet Streff, Manager of the Minnesota State Energy Office; Tom McDougall, President of The Weidt Group.  View the 75-minute webinar on demand at:

Publish Date: January, 2014

Our most recent study, the 2014 Getting to Zero Status Update: A look at the projects, policies and programs driving zero net energy performance in commercial buildings, examines the numbers, locations, types, ownership as well as policy and program drivers for ZNE. The number of ZNE verified and ZNE emerging (not yet verified) projects has more than doubled since we last reported in 2012 for a total of 160 buildings in North America. An additional 53 ultra-low energy buildings--those with efficiencies on par with ZNE buildings, but without sufficient onsite renewables to power the building--were identified as part of the study.

Publish Date: September, 2013

New Buildings Institute, Northwest Energy Codes Group, Institute for Market Transformation and Southwest Energy Efficiency Project identified seven key issues to ensure that the 2015 IECC improves energy efficiency, is easier to apply, and makes compliance and enforcement more straightforward. The votes recommended below on these seven issues will provide the most technically sound 2015 IECC to achieve these objectives.

Publish Date: August, 2013

This report represents the findings on research on the Enlighted wireless luminaire level lighting control system. New Buildings Institute (NBI) conducted the work on behalf of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). The technical proof of concept study aimed to validate manufacturer claims for costs, ease of installation, end user satisfaction and energy savings. Among the study’s findings, it was found that when given the option, individuals chose less light at work. Enlighted's system allows individuals in the workplace to adjust their own lighting levels to their personal preferences and tasks. Organizations could substantially reduce their utility bills while improving employee satisfaction and comfort.

Publish Date: June, 2013

As part of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (NEEA’s) investigation of new approaches to reducing commercial cooling electric energy use, New Buildings Institute (NBI) installed, monitored and analyzed the performance of a third generation indirect direct (IDEC) evaporative cooler on a commercial building rooftop in Boise, Idaho during the 2012 cooling season. This unit features a high efficiency configuration that takes the well demonstrated performance of the IDEC evaporative section and attaches it to an existing direct expansion (DX) rooftop unit (RTU) as a retrofit application. This final study builds on previous research related to evaporative cooling, but focuses on using control technologies to optimize operation of the units.

Publish Date: April, 2013

This report presents the results of the Evidence-based Design and Operations Research Program led by New Buildings Institute from 2008-2013. The program included four technical projects for commercial buildings. This work included the development of feedback tools for designers, operators/owners and tenants as aides to reduce building energy use. Projects also included plug loads, skylight systems and rooftop heating and cooling units.

This report was prepared as part of the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

Publish Date: April, 2013

This paper examines the issues related to the energy use category in commercial buildings commonly referred to as Plug Loads and provides recommendations. With a path in codes and programs headed towards Zero Net Energy, plug loads have become a matter of increasing concern, both as a technological challenge and a policy driver.

Publish Date: April, 2013

This report details tasks, findings, and recommendations undertaken for the Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation project. The scope involved developing and validating computer simulation alternatives to physical measurements for producing optical daylighting system photometry. Findings indicate that it is possible to use computer simulations to accurately model and produce optical daylighting system photometry information.

This paper was prepared as part of the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

Publish Date: April, 2013

This report summarizes the findings for the Rooftop Unit FDD project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program. The project goals were to reduce the energy performance degradation in rooftop HVAC units (5-50 tons in size) in California and support the persistence of energy/demand savings from utility-sponsored HVAC service programs and high efficiency unit programs. Key short and longer-term benefits were achieved in this project.

This report was prepared as part of the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.