Leading in LA

Report / December 26, 2018 / Building Innovation, Deep Energy Retrofits / 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 California’s existing commercial buildings with cost-effective and scalable solutions, particularly in the Los Angeles Basin where energy constraints from the Aliso Canyon fuel leak are acute.  Working with prominent energy efficiency entities TRC and LBNL, the project launched in June 2017. It is a three-year lab test, field demonstration, and market connection effort to move an integrated set of emerging commercial retrofit technologies into wider adoption.


Leading in Los Angeles (LA) combines an innovative set of pre-commercial technologies targeted across lighting, HVAC, and plug loads. These end uses make up the majority of a building’s energy use (70% for a typical office). The technology package integrates (1) automated self-powered window shades from Rollease Acmeda, (2) LED lighting with advanced controls from Enlighted, (3) HVAC retro-commissioning, and (5) advanced meters tied together with central controls and validated by (4) measurement & verification 2.0 procedures.

The set of technologies are called the Integrated Technologies for Energy-efficient Retrofits (INTER) solution set and are comprised of shading products from Rollease Acmeda and lighting and plug load systems and controls from Enlighted. The technologies can be combined and customized to suit a variety of building types and spaces resulting in an estimated whole building energy reduction of up to 32%.  Market attraction will be improved occupant control and comfort, reduced transaction costs, and ease of installation.

In Leading in LA, the INTER solution set will first be lab tested at LBNL FlexLab, customized to each demonstration site, then installed at a minimum of three large government office buildings in disadvantaged areas of the LA basin, specifically in the Santa Ana area. The project incorporates extensive market and policy adoption strategies that will target both the LA basin and the state as project results are completed.



  1. Validate the commercial viability and scalability of INTER systems in existing commercial buildings
  2. Accelerate market adoption of INTER system to address Los Angeles basin and statewide needs for energy and carbon reductions through deep energy efficiency retrofits


  1. Demonstrate energy savings and improved comfort of INTER systems
  2. Identify and address market barriers to wider acceptance and adoption
  3. Develop scalable technology packages, integration guidelines, case studies, utility program ideas and energy code connections to facilitate widespread implementation

PROJECT STATUS (As of July 2020):

  • Field demonstration sites selected:
    • Santa Ana City Hall
    • CSU Dominguez Hills Welch Hall
  • Metering and installation plan completed for each site
  • Metering equipment installation completed at demonstration sites
  • FLEXLab testing ongoing (summer and fall season tests completed)
  • Market analysis research underway
  • FLEXLab testing complete
  • Demonstration package installation at both sites complete
    • Santa Ana City Hall
    • CSU Dominguez Hills Welch Hall
  • Market analysis research underway
  • Post-retrofit energy metering underway to inform measurement & verification analysis
  • ACEEE 2020 paper submitted outlining project package and preliminary results


Term: June 2017 – March 2021

Pre-field Testing and Customization
Q2 2017 – Q3 2019
The goals of this task are to:

  • Design and test the INTER system at the Department of Energy’s FLEXlab at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Finalize demonstration site selection
  • Develop customized retrofit packages for each site

Field Demonstration
Q4 2017-Q4 2020
The goal of this task is to deploy customized INTER solutions at the two selected sites in order to demonstrate, validate, and measure energy savings, measure comfort improvement, and refine configurations and best practices for these retrofits.

Market and Policy Adoption
Q1 2018-Q1 2021
The goals of this task are to:

  • Accelerate the Energy Commission’s objectives of market adoption and energy reduction by leveraging the team’s commercial market experience and connections in California and Los Angeles in particular
  • Develop a marketing campaign for moving existing commercial buildings to significantly reduced energy usage
  • Establish Integration guidelines that facilitate market implementation
  • Provide technical and cost resources to facilitate code changes

Evaluation of Project Benefits
Q2 2017-Q1 2021

The goal of this task is to review the broad impacts of the project, specifically for market penetration, energy savings, emissions reductions, and other corollary benefits to California and its rate payers.

Technology and Knowledge Transfer
Q4 2018 – Q1 2021

The goal of this task is to develop a plan to make the knowledge gained, experimental results, and lessons learned available to the public and key decision makers. The plan will encompass a multimedia campaign to share the results and benefits throughout California to maximize the impact of this project.



Funder: California Energy Commission (CEC) Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC 16-302)

Project Team: 
NBI, TRC, LBNL + The Energy Coalition, Delos, CEES-Advisors

Manufacturing Partners: Rollease Acmeda, Enlighted

Demonstration Partners: City of Santa Ana, CSU Dominguez Hills

Match funds: Enlighted, Rollease Acmeda, Southern California Edison (SCE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Delos, TRC

Project Partners/letters of Support: Attachment Energy Rating Council (AERC), Integral Group, ARUP, EHDD, P2S Engineering, Taylor Engineering, UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Design Research, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Technical Advisory Committee:

Kostas Papamichael, California Lighting Technology Center
Lisa Heschong, Consultant
Jonathan Changus, Northern California Power Agency
Amy Jiron, Department of Energy (DOE)
Bryan Cope, Southern California Public Power Authority
Kent Petersen, P2S
Adel Suleiman, California Energy Commission
Kim Rodriguez, Intech Energy
Travis Nelson, ComEd
Nancy Ander, California Department of General Services
Eric Knops, California Energy Commission
Drew Quirk, Xcel
Pierre Delforge, NRDC
Brian Smith, PG&E
Jai Agaram, Digital Energy, Inc.,
Ann McCormick, Newcomb Anderson McCormick

Primary Project Contacts:
Cathy Higgins and Kevin Carbonnier, New Buildings Institute
Contact Cathy or Kevin by email with any questions.