Building Innovation

This mission-critical research, technical analysis, tools and guidance helps those seeking to drive better energy performance outcomes in commercial buildings.

Summary

All of NBI’s work is built of a foundation of proven building science. Under its Building and Program Innovation efforts, NBI conducts building science research, technology assessments, develops building standards and tools, and provides training and education as well as direct services and consulting on the technical analyses, tools and guidance that demonstrate feasibility of advanced efficiency measures and practices. The resources developed under this program provide critical support for building owners, practitioners, utilities and jurisdictions that want to create or enhance programs that favor ultra-efficiency in commercial buildings.

Our premier guidance includes the New Construction Guide and Multifamily Guide that offer prescriptive measures for achieving high performance in new construction projects with up to 30% better efficiency than traditional construction practices. We also have developed a number of resources, including a Zero Energy Project Guide and Zero Energy Charette Toolkit that helps design teams optimize their process for designing ultra low-energy projects. Our building portfolio diagnostic tool, called FirstView, has been used by cities and other portfolio owners across the country to assess and identify underperforming buildings as well as renovation projects that are viable to achieve zero energy goals.

The NBI team of architects, engineers, and researchers work to advance approaches by both the energy and building industries to raising levels of efficiency in buildings. NBI’s study on the measured energy performance of LEED buildings was a catalyst for the need to focus on outcome-based performance of buildings rather than relying solely on predictive models. Other research examines the effectiveness and benefits of advanced design practices such as daylighting as well as technology applications including controls, lighting and HVAC systems.

Our training and education program provides practitioners with webinars and resources, often at no cost, to help them better understand the opportunities for improving energy performance in their design and operations. Case studies document projects that serve as models for others to follow.

NewsView All

NBI Unveils New Multifamily Energy Guide

News / October 30, 2017

Published in EC&M: Multifamily buildings offer a largely untapped opportunity for improving energy efficiency, according to a recent report from the New Buildings Institute (NBI). Despite tremendous potential for savings, the organization explains why the multifamily market is hard to...

Blog PostsView All

Outcomes Matter

Post / November 16, 2017 / Energy Codes

We all know what it takes to lead a healthy life—eat your vegetables, exercise, and visit your doctor to monitor your cholesterol, blood sugar, weight and blood pressure. Now imagine what life would be like if you decided to eat...

Codes & Policy

There are no codes & policy for Building Innovation. Please see our other codes & policy below.

2018 IECC Code

Codes & Policy / September 14, 2016

Voting members, be sure to vote! The CDP voting period is November 8 through November 22. All votes are important, but be sure to review NBI’s Voting Recommendations and the following General Energy Efficiency Voting Recommendations before you vote. Final...

Energy Codes for Multifamily Buildings (Base Codes)

Codes & Policy / March 9, 2016 / Policy

Multifamily poses a conundrum for energy regulation. Generally, these buildings are constructed and renovated like commercial buildings but used like residential buildings. As a result, regulation of multifamily buildings has been split between the residential and the commercial codes. The...

Steps to Achieving Outcome-Based Energy Codes

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Outcome-based energy codes, codes  require that a number of policy, data and administration pieces be put in place.  

Costs of Advanced Efficiency Measures in Commercial Buildings

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

NBI has identified the following four studies as a general survey of the cost impact of increasing the level of energy efficiency in commercial new construction and major retrofits. This is not an exhaustive survey of cost material available, but...

zEPI

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

The 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) includes many progressive measures that will improve the energy performance of buildings. One important provision describes the Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI), which provides a scale for measuring commercial building energy performance. zEPI...

Zero Net Energy Policies

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Policies and programs can dramatically change the landscape for Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings. There is burgeoning market interest in ZNE, and policies and programs can foster and grow that interest through leadership, direct support, and the reduction of risks and...

Aligning Utility Programs with Local Codes (Policy)

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Bringing energy codes to market often involves a comprehensive approach that starts years before a code is adopted by a local jurisdiction. NBI provides technical assistance through each stage of code development. NBI aggregates technical information from existing high performance buildings. Observed trends...

Outcome-Based Energy Codes

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

Our nation’s current energy codes include structural and enforcement characteristics that limit the ability to achieve significantly more energy savings without major changes. Current energy code strategies consider only a limited number of the factors that impact building energy performance. ...

2015 International Green Construction Code (Green Codes)

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is an effort of the International Code Council (ICC) aimed at creating a new green overlay code for the ICC’s suite of I-Codes.  The IgCC includes requirements for a range of issues pertinent to...

2015 IECC and IEBC (Base Codes)

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

NBI and several other leading organizations proposed code revisions for a range of 2015 International Code Council codes (I-codes) including the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). The purpose is to help the usability...

Model Energy & Green Codes

Codes & Policy / December 19, 2015

NBI works collaboratively with a wide range of industry partners to bring model energy codes up to current market capabilities. Measures promoted by NBI include higher efficiency standards for equipment and advanced design strategies such as daylighting. Once adopted by states...

COMNET (Polcy)

Codes & Policy / December 19, 2015 / Policy

NBI manages the development of COMNET, a quality assurance initiative to standardize building energy modeling, by creating consistent baselines relative to various energy codes and standards. COMNET extends and supports existing systems for assessing and rating the energy efficiency of...

White Paper on Establishing a Pathway to Outcome-Based Codes and Policies

Codes & Policy / November 13, 2012

For several years, NBI has been engaged in wide‐ranging conversations about code stringency increases and the degree to which current code strategies can continue to achieve aggressive efficiency goals that have been targeted. We have come to recognize that current...

ResearchView All

Energy Performance of Commercial Buildings with Radiant Heating and Cooling

Report / August 10, 2017 / HVAC

This report is part of the California Energy Commission (CEC) EPIC project (EPIC-14-009), Optimizing Radiant Systems for Energy Efficiency and Comfort. The main goal of this research was to determine the building characteristics of projects with radiant heating and cooling…

High Performance Buildings Measured Performance and Key Performance Indicators

Report / April 24, 2013

This Final Research Summary Report summarizes the findings for the High Performance Buildings Measured Performance and Key Performance Indicators project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program.

Evidence-Based Design and Operations PIER Program: Improving the Real World Performance of Commercial Buildings

Report / April 23, 2013

This Final Project 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…

Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation

Report / April 23, 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.

Plug Loads

Report / March 24, 2013

Plug loads are among the biggest energy end uses in commercial office buildings. This is in part because plug loads are growing with greater information technology power demand and also because design approaches, codes and efficiency programs typically address other…

Key Performance Indicators – Field Metering Study and Energy Performance Feedback

Report / July 23, 2012

This report describes an investigation by NBI of metered key performance indicators (KPI) for commercial building energy use.

A Search for Deep Energy Savings

Report / August 23, 2011

A report from NEEA's BetterBricks program and New Buildings Institute investigates* 11 energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, resulted in energy use 50% less than the national average – many with an energy use intensity (EUI) below…

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

Report / July 27, 2011

This study compares the magnitude of energy impact that various design features, operations and tenant behaviors have on total building energy use. The findings of this study can help the building community begin to align their priorities with those building…

Using Measured Whole-Building Performance for Green Building Program Evaluation

Paper / December 28, 2010

Green building program energy efficiency strategies often use integrated design, precluding the measurement of results simply from deemed savings of specific measures. This paper describes the use of whole-building measured energy use, by month and fuel, to evaluate the achievements…

Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings

Report / February 17, 2010

NBI has completed the broadest study to-date of measured energy performance of LEED buildings called “Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings.” Aimed at better quantifying the actual energy performance levels of green building, the study gathered whole building…

Daylight and Retail Sales

Report / October 21, 2003

This study presents evidence that a chain retailer is experiencing higher sales in daylit stores than in similar non-daylit stores.

Windows and Offices: A Study of Office Worker Performance and the Indoor Environment

Report / October 21, 2003

This study reports on a statistical investigation into the influences indoor physical environment has on office worker performance, especially daylight and view, and secondarily ventilation and thermal comfort.

Windows and Classrooms: A Study of Student Performance and the Indoor Environment

Report / October 21, 2003

This study investigates whether daylight and other aspects of the indoor environment in elementary school student classrooms have an effect on student learning, as measured by their improvement on standardized math and reading tests over an academic year.

Events

National Grid Presents – High Performance Water Heating and Distribution in Multifamily Properties

Webinar / June 26 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Find hidden opportunity beyond efficient equipment in hot water distribution systems. Water heating is one of the largest loads in multifamily buildings. It can easily account for 30% of the total building load. While equipment efficiency standards and programs have…

NewsView All

NBI Unveils New Multifamily Energy Guide

News / October 30, 2017

Published in EC&M: Multifamily buildings offer a largely untapped opportunity for improving energy efficiency, according to a recent report from the New Buildings Institute (NBI). Despite tremendous potential for savings, the organization explains why the multifamily market is hard to...

Smartglass International’s retrofit project with SPD-SmartGlass will protect priceless paintings at the University of Edinburgh and increases energy efficiency in buildings

News / September 23, 2016

Research Frontiers licensee Smartglass International addresses the long term savings that commercial organizations can realize when they install SPD-SmartGlass in their buildings. From 2016-2023, it is estimated that $960 billion will be invested to make existing buildings more environmentally friendly....

Driving Energy Efficiency in Small- and Medium-Size Buildings

News / August 10, 2016 / Existing Buildings

Given the number of small and medium commercial buildings, there is urgency to increase energy efficiency in this sector. Luckily, advancing technology promises to help these buildings enjoy the savings that a retrofit can attain.

The Retrofit Savings Estimator

News / October 6, 2015

Building owners considering an energy-efficiency upgrade now have a new tool to help them weigh their options and choose strategies that will optimize energy savings or target the biggest opportunities among a portfolio of buildings. NBI has released a beta...

Reliable Retrofit Analysis Anyone Can Do

News / September 29, 2015

As we advance toward a more energy-efficient built environment, building owners are seeking guidance on how to maximize the energy performance of their buildings. Many owners are concerned about the cost and effectiveness of the tools necessary to achieve this...

Danfoss’ Galyen: Incentives Will Boost Building Technology Development

News / September 24, 2015

On September 17, John Galyen, president, Danfoss North America, addressed the importance of taking a holistic approach to improving the efficiency of the U.S. commercial building stock as part of a broad objective to double energy productivity. Galyen was joined...

These Small Business Segments Make Super Customers

News / July 17, 2015

In 2013, Preservation Green Lab (PGL) and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) reported on seven small building segments with high energy savings potential: food service, main street buildings, freestanding offices, strip malls, schools, freestanding retail and lodging. This inspired Diana...

Tool to Assess Value of Building Retrofits

News / July 16, 2015

BUILDINGS.com reported that a new web application can identify energy savings opportunities. The Retrofit Savings Estimator, created by NBI, uses general factors such as size, heating and cooling types, and building operation schedules as well as more technical details to...

New Construction Guide endorsed by Architecture 2030 to meet the 2030 Challenge

News / June 16, 2015

The New Construction Guide has also been incorporated as the prescriptive path to comply with the energy prerequisites for both USGBC’s LEED v4 and the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools standard. The guide has also been adopted as the...

New Construction Guide endorsed by Architecture 2030 to meet the 2030 Challenge

News / June 1, 2015

New Buildings Institute (NBI) and Architecture 2030 are excited to announce that Architecture 2030 has endorsed a prescriptive path to meet the current 2030 Challenge goal based on NBI’s New Construction® New Construction Guide. With this path, design teams now...

Industry experts plan for future focused on commercial building performance outcomes, increased attention to operations

News / May 6, 2015

Determining a building’s energy efficiency based solely on using predictive energy models and specifying certain design and construction attributes may be a thing of the past by the time the next generation of architects and engineers join the workforce. Communities...

System Control Offers Increased HVAC Efficiency For Smaller Buildings

News / September 23, 2014

Environmental Leader reported on new technology in heating, venting and air conditioning building automation systems for small- and mid-sized buildings. The article references a 2004 New Buildings Institute study, which found that 91 percent of the packaged rooftop units tested...

PECI tests New Buildings Institute’s plug load energy use metrics at HQ

News / November 6, 2013

Building Design + Construction reported, that NBI developed the first ever set of plug load energy use metrics, which will allow commercial building owners and managers to more easily gain insight into their buildings’ energy use and become more energy...

PECI helps affirm usefulness of new plug load metrics

News / November 6, 2013

Portland-based PECI used NBI metrics to assess plug load energy use at its First and Main Building headquarters in downtown Portland. The study inspired an energy-saving campaign that resulted in an 18 percent kWh reduction of PECI’s plug load reports...

Energy Management Trends: The Power Of Plugs

News / September 30, 2013

An article written by Cathy Higgins, Research Director, and Dan Harris, P.E. was published by Today’s Facility Manager. The article reports that plug loads are the fastest growing energy use item in commercial buildings and can represent as much as...

Enlighted’s Technology Increases Employee Comfort and Reduces Lighting Power by 59% at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

News / July 30, 2013

MarketWatch reported that NEEA, NBI and Enlighted collaborated on a study that found when given the option, individuals chose less light. Organizations could substantially reduce their utility bills while improving employee satisfaction. (7/23/2013)

Commercial Plug Loads

News / October 19, 2012

Newsletter articles referenced NBI’s “Commercial Office Plug Load Savings Assessment“. The study reveals details about actual energy consumption of common plug loads and measured savings of 40 percent or more resulting from low-cost efficiency measures. 5 Steps To Help You...

High Performance, Low Operating Costs

News / October 16, 2012

Vermont Mutual Insurance Group wanted their building to perform in the most energy-efficient way. Their project team worked with Efficiency Vermont to follow the New Construction Core Performance Guide. Tracey Beckstrom, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives, wrote about the experience...

Tenants Look to Reduce Office Equipment Power Consumption

News / August 21, 2012

Commercial Property Executive Magazine’s plug-load management article quotes Amy Cortese, Senior Project Manager, and includes the 5 steps for reducing energy used by electronic devices from the Plug Load Best Practices Guide. (8/21/2012)

New guide outlines best practices for cutting energy used by plug-in devices

News / July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012–The number of things office workers plug into the socket is growing rapidly. To help commercial building owners and occupants get control of the energy used by office equipment and other electronic devices, New Buildings Institute (NBI) today...

Energy-Saving Deep Retrofits at Negligible Cost?

News / June 19, 2012

Deep retrofits with energy savings topping 30 to 50 percent result only from energy efficiency strategies that affect multiple building systems, reports Urban Land. This article references NBI’s work in the study A Search for Deep Energy Savings. (6/18/2012)

Deep Retrofits Promise Positive Returns

News / June 19, 2012

Deep retrofit examples, their strategies, related benefits, and their potential are described in an article published in Building Operating Management. These examples are drawn from NBI’s study A Search for Deep Energy Savings and include comments from Mark Lyles, NBI Project...

Lab Report: XXVIII

News / May 23, 2012

New ways of envisioning architecture, design, and construction are discussed in this blog by MetropolisMag.com and they mention research done by NBI. This research can be found in the report Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings. (5/22/2012)

Daylighting as a Cost-Effective Solution

News / March 7, 2012

Existing buildings can maximize sunlight use without making structural changes. In this article, from Buildings, Barb Hamilton, Senior Lighting Manager for the NBI, offers three strategies to maximize daylight and minimize artificial light. (2/24/2012)

Blog

New Multifamily Guide Offers Solutions that Deliver Up to 25% Energy Savings

Post / October 10, 2017 / Energy Codes

Multifamily buildings pose a conundrum for advancing energy performance. As a building type, they are caught somewhere between commercial buildings and single-family residences – they are often constructed like commercial buildings, yet used as residential buildings. Energy-efficient technologies and design...

NBI Completes Study into Energy Performance of Commercial Buildings with Radiant Systems for Cooling and Heating

Post / August 10, 2017

During the renovation of the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, a variable air volume (VAV) system was replaced with a radiant design system. The design team included numerous CBE industry partners, including SERA Architects, Stantec, Interface Engineering, and Charles...

Best Practice Options for LED Lighting in Multifamily Offer Illumination Without Negative Impacts

Post / July 5, 2017 / Lighting

This material has been excerpted from the soon-to-be-released Multifamily Guide offering best practice design for high performance multifamily new construction projects. Stay tuned for more information on the Guide’s release. LED lighting had some of its earliest and broadest successes...

Cities Get Help to Prioritize Energy Upgrades, Improve Codes and Policies that Drive Better Building Performance

Post / April 21, 2017 / Benchmarking & Feedback, Existing Buildings

Buildings are responsible for almost half of all U.S. energy consumption (46%), and poor-performing buildings have an outsized impact on energy use. But without a systematic approach to track building performance, it’s often difficult to know where to start. By setting...

Small buildings get big boost from SMART Scale small commercial retrofit program

Post / October 18, 2016

NBI has long advocated for more attention, tools and resources for energy efficiency in the small business sector. We created the only prescriptive approach approved as a LEED-NC pathway for moving small new commercial buildings to high performance – the...

Congressional Members Look at Reinventing Existing Buildings

Post / September 29, 2015

I had the honor recently of addressing members of Congress on opportunities for “reinventing” existing buildings to achieve high levels of energy efficiency and productivity. The morning briefing was hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy. Why existing buildings? (more…)...

What Commercial Real Estate Executives Think and Do About Energy Efficiency

Post / September 16, 2015

The 2014 Northwest Commercial Building Stock Assessment estimates the size of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market in the Northwest to be 1.6 billion square feet–a market of existing buildings that are prime candidates for energy and carbon reductions through...

New Construction Guide and the Architecture 2030 Challenge

Post / July 1, 2015

In 2006, Architecture 2030 took a bold step: Challenge everyone involved with the built environment — designers, owners, government, utilities, operators and tenants, everyone — to reach for the goal of Zero Net Energy by 2030. Using the average performance...

FirstView® for Affordable Multifamily – Looking for Partners, Building Data, and Pilot Testers

Post / January 12, 2015

Most commercial buildings have little or no easy-to-access energy performance feedback data. New Buildings Institute has drawn on its broad field experience and a deep well of building data to develop software to solve this problem. FirstView is NBI’s web-based...

Northwest cities get help from NEEA to address worst performing buildings

Post / November 20, 2014

Existing buildings with aging equipment and infrastructure represent a tremendous opportunity for energy savings. But, without a mechanism to identify inefficient buildings and prioritize budgets for upgrades, it’s difficult to know where to start. Under a pilot program, funded by...

NBI and NIBS Convene a Stellar Cast for August Summit with Compelling Outcomes

Post / September 12, 2014

NBI was thrilled to partner with National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to host the Getting to Outcome-Based Performance Summit this August in Seattle. Together with a handpicked group of leading thinkers and practitioners in high performance building design, construction...

Government Leadership Creates Powerful Action on Deep Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

Post / April 9, 2014

Vermont, California, Kentucky, Pima County, Salt Lake City, Fort Collins, Washington DC. These communities are among those leading by example in setting zero net energy (ZNE) goals for both local policies and their own government buildings. Policymakers in these jurisdictions...

Daylighting Done Right

Post / May 25, 2012

Incorporating natural light into building design has become an increasingly popular strategy that is dramatically improving energy performance and occupant satisfaction. The use of new glazing and shading systems as well as other daylight-harvesting components and controls is reducing dependence...

Case StudiesView All

Radiant Cooling and Heating Systems Case Study: Port of Portland Headquarters

Case Study / September 13, 2017 / HVAC

The Port of Portland headquarters was studied under a California Energy Commission EPIC research project on radiant heating and cooling systems in 2016-2017. It is a three story office space with 450 Port employees built above seven stories of public…

Radiant Cooling and Heating Systems Case Study: Pomona College Millikan Laboratory and Andrew Science Hall

Case Study / September 13, 2017 / HVAC

The Pomona College Millikan Laboratory and Andrew Science Hall (Millikan Building) was studied under a California Energy Commission EPIC research project on radiant heating and cooling systems in 2016-2017. It is a 3-story, 75,000 square foot building comprised of physics…

Radiant Cooling and Heating Systems Case Study: Lovejoy Opsis Building

Case Study / September 13, 2017 / HVAC

radiant heating and cooling systems in 2016-2017. It is a two-story, 19,460 square foot retail and office building located in Portland, Oregon. The building was constructed in 1910 as stables for an historic hardware company. Opsis Architecture purchased the building…

Radiant Cooling and Heating Systems Case Study: Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building

Case Study / September 13, 2017 / HVAC

The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building was studied under a California Energy Commission EPIC research project on radiant heating and cooling systems in 2016-2017. It is an 18-story, 512,474 square foot office building located in Portland, Oregon. The building houses…

Radiant Cooling and Heating Systems Case Study: Bullitt Center

Case Study / September 13, 2017 / HVAC

The Bullitt Center was studied under a California Energy Commission EPIC research project on radiant heating and cooling systems in 2016-2017. It is a six-story, 44,700 square foot (SF) office building located in Seattle, WA. The Bullitt Foundation, a nonprofit…

Savings Verification for Performance Contracting

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Washington’s Department of General Administration supervised an energy system retrofit of Spokane’s Westlake State Hospital and then was responsible for verifying the energy savings resulting from the improvements. However, when the hospital’s energy management system experienced a partial loss of…

The Runaway Building

Case Study / December 23, 2015

EZ Sim showed its versatility and its accuracy when analyzing a building with run away winter energy bills. While the building was initially modeled using a traditional engineering method, EZ Sim provided a quicker alternative to identify the nature of…

EZ SIM – Shows Bonus Energy Savings for County Office Building

Case Study / December 23, 2015

When a county building’s facility manager wanted to know if it was time to upgrade the building’s heat pumps, EZ Sim’s detective work helped to uncover more savings in more places than she bargained.

New England Regional Council of Carpenters

Case Study / December 23, 2015

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) represents 22,000 carpenters, pile drivers, shop and mill men, and floorcoverers working in the New England states.

Gibney Family Vision Center

Case Study / December 23, 2015

The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI), a non-profit organization founded in 1926, is the only private rehabilitation agency to offer free training, services and support to visually impaired Vermonters of all ages. VABVI offices are located…

Fidelity Bank

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Fidelity Bank is one of the oldest and continually growing independent, local community banks in Central Massachusetts. In January 2007, the bank opened its new Corporate Center and Branch in Leominster, Massachusetts. The four-story building includes office space as well…

Duxbury Bay Maritime School

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Serving more than 1,800 students annually, the not-for-profit Duxbury Bay Maritime School aims to connect the community through educational and recreational programs with its primary resource, Duxbury Bay.

Child and Family of Newport County Case Study

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Child and Family of Newport County (CF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families and communities through services such as preschool childcare, counseling, home care for the elderly and disabled, substance abuse education, home-based child welfare, transitional housing for…

Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Case Study

Case Study / December 23, 2015

In September 2010, the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School opened its new green building, ready to accommodate 600 students. This new building includes masonry and steel construction, a 3,300 square foot state-of-the-art library and media center, a 5,700 square foot gymnasium,…

New Construction Project Directory & Case Studies

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Below are New Construction projects that have utilized Core Performance including links to case studies or project profiles when available.

Case Study: StopWaste

Case Study / June 6, 2012

In March 2007, 31 staff at StopWaste.Org moved into a renovated building in downtown Oakland, California. Their goal was to transform a dilapidated, 14,000 SF, two-story structure into an attractive and environmentally responsible building. Built in 1926, the building is…

Case Study: USGBC Building Performance Program

Case Study / May 18, 2012

NBI's FirstView™ software and services have been used on over 200 LEED buildings involved in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Building Performance Partnership (BPP). BPP is a voluntary program designed to improve the performance of green buildings by providing a…

1525 Wilson Boulevard Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This all-electric building in Rossyln, VA used a combination of energy efficiency strategies, including replacing HVAC and lighting systems and providing tenant education. Energy use was reduced by 35% in just one year, resulting in savings over $250,000 on energy…

Mercy Corps Headquarters Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This building in Portland, OR is 50% historic renovation and 50% new construction. The information in this profile addresses both the renovated and the new parts of the building. Pursuing energy efficiency supports their mission of sustainability, and lower operating…

Home On The Range Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This Project Profile builds on a case study prepared by USGBC, including data on energy performance for one year, and provides updated owner feedback and energy use data. The actual energy use of the building in Billings, MT, is 46 kBtu/sf/yr, 51% better than the…

Beardmore Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Beardmore in Priest River, Idaho has the distinction of being one of the few buildings in the country that is both LEED Gold certified and on the National Register of Historic Places. The project demonstrates a very successful renovation…

200 Market Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The 200 Market building in Portland, OR, has made continuous energy retrofits and system improvements. These efforts have moved the building from an ENERGY STAR score of 79 in 2006 to a score of 98 (out of 100) in 2010,…

Joseph Vance Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

Since its acquisition, significant investments have been made to renovate this building in Seattle to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance, as well as tenant experience. Occupancy increased from 68% to 96% and has seen increased rents, tenant retention and…

Alliance Center Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado launched a project titled “Modeling a Net Zero Future: Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings” to explore options that will enable it to approach a zero-net energy goal. Several documents developed for the project are referenced…

A Case For Deep Savings: 11 Case studies of Deep Energy Retrofits

Case Study / August 23, 2011

For NEEA’s BetterBricks program, New Buildings Institute investigated* 11 examples of energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, use 50% less energy than the national average – most with an energy use intensity (EUI) of less than 40…

Measured Performance Case Study; Classroom & Office Building, UC Merced

Case Study / January 26, 2010

The Classroom and Office Building (COB) examined in this case study is one of five buildings in the initial phase of development at UC Merced. This case study examines the actual post-occupancy performance of COB in relation to design elements…

Measured Performance Case Study; Science & Engineering Building 1, UC Merced

Case Study / January 26, 2010

Science & Engineering (S&E) Building I is one of five buildings in the initial phase of development at UC Merced. This case study examines the actual post-occupancy energy performance of S&E in relation to design elements and objectives.

Tools & Guides

The GridOptimal Initiative

Guideline / June 21, 2018

The role of buildings, renewable energy and storage in the utility industry is changing and near-term solutions are needed to address today’s challenges and capitalize on opportunities for market transformation. New Buildings Institute and the U.S. Green Building Council are…

Community Strategic Energy Management (SEM)

Guideline / January 11, 2018 / Existing Buildings

Over 400 Mayors across the United State have made formal commitments to the Paris Climate Accord. Others have signed onto the 2030 Challenge and/or the Better Buildings Challenge. To meet these goals, an effective strategy to track, manage, and improve…

Multifamily Guide

Guideline / September 6, 2017

A new Multifamily Guide offers an advanced standard that addresses the issues faced when applying building code to multifamily buildings. This single prescriptive standard delivers savings regardless of whether the project is subject to the residential or commercial versions of…

Leading in LA

Guideline / August 28, 2017 / Existing Buildings

Demonstrating scalable emerging energy efficient technologies for integrated façade, lighting, and plug loads New Buildings Institute is leading a major research project funded by the California Energy Commission in response to the critical need to greatly reduce energy use in…

Quantifying the Water-Energy Nexus at the Building Project Scale

Online Tool / June 1, 2017 / Water-Energy Nexus

NBI has laid the groundwork to connect the water-energy nexus at the power plant with the energy consumed at the building level. With the support of existing research and funding from the Edwards Mother Earth Foundation, NBI has created a…

SMARTScale

Online Tool / February 21, 2017 / Existing Buildings

Introducing SMARTScale... In 2014, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a grant to NBI partner Ecology Action to create and demonstrate a nationally scalable model targeted to utility and public benefits efficiency program operators for delivering deep retrofits in…

FirstView Software and Services Overview

Factsheet / January 30, 2017

NBI’s FirstView software tool quickly generates information about a building’s energy performance to help you determine if it is on track or if it needs improvement.

Daylighting Pattern Guide

Online Tool / December 20, 2015 / Daylighting

The Daylighting Pattern Guide is a free, interactive tool that helps design teams incorporate proven daylighting strategies into commercial building projects for substantial reductions in lighting power consumption and overall building energy use.

New Construction Guide

Guideline / December 12, 2015

Increasing energy code stringency and owner demand for higher efficiency in buildings are challenging design teams to deliver high performance without adding costs. The New Construction Guide from New Construction offers a comprehensive approach to new commercial construction projects that…

FirstView for Multifamily Buildings

Online Tool / May 27, 2014

Multifamily buildings offer a largely untapped opportunity for improving energy efficiency. Despite tremendous potential for savings, the multifamily market is hard to penetrate due to complexities in market structure and split incentives. More and more attention is being paid to…

Plug Load Best Practices Guide

Guideline / July 17, 2012

The Plug Load Best Practices Guide outlines no-cost and low-cost measures for reducing the energy and costs associated with plug loads, or any device that is plugged into a building’s electrical system—think computers, printers and data servers. The guide, based…