Energy Efficiency at LBNL
The mission of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division is to perform analysis, research and development leading to better energy technologies and reduction of adverse energy-related environmental impacts. Our work increases the efficiency of energy use, reduces its environmental effects, provides the nation with environmental benefits, and helps developing nations achieve similar goals through technical advice.
EETD carries out its work through the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (the Division's primary sponsor), other federal entities, state governments and the private sector. Our staff of nearly 400 represents a diverse cross section of fields and skills, ranging from architecture, physics, and mechanical engineering to economics and public policy.
The Division carries out research in energy-efficient building technologies; energy analysis; indoor environmental quality, advanced energy technologies, and atmospheric sciences.
Buildings in the U.S. use 40 percent of energy and emit 40 percent of greenhouse gases. To reduce GHGs and counter climate change requires developing ways of substantially reducing GHG emissions from buildings.
The goal of 21st century research on energy-efficient buildings is to develop design, construction and operational technologies and practices leading to new buildings that use zero net energy—buildings that use 70 percent less energy than today’s average, with the remaining energy use coming from clean and sustainable energy sources. By 2030, every new building should be a net-zero energy building, within 20 years of this, 50 percent of all existing buildings should be retrofit to this level.
Division researchers work closely with industry to develop efficient technologies for buildings that reduce energy bills while improving the comfort, health, productivity, and safety of building occupants.
Our efforts focus on developing:
- A building operating platform that can be used to design and simulate near-zero energy buildings (NZEBs);
- Simulation models and benchmarking tools to evaluate efficiency and whole building systems and components;
- Whole-building and system diagnostics and energy information systems;
- Advanced control systems and sensors for NZEBs;
- Windows, daylighting, and lighting control systems;
- Automated demand response communications and load reduction technologies for the Smart Grid;
- Energy-efficient high technology buildings, including data centers, labs, clean rooms;
- Demonstrations and deployment strategies of advanced commercial building systems through high-profile R&D partnerships.
EETD’s energy analysts collect, analyze, and interpret information about energy consumption and supply, energy technologies (especially efficiency and renewable sources), industrial energy management, land-use change, energy company programs, government policies, and economic and environmental impacts.
- research the performance of energy-efficient technology in the laboratory and the marketplace;
- analyze and quantify the impacts of various international, federal and state energy policies;
- assess and compare the feasibility of different approaches to designing energy-efficient standards and building codes; and
- scientifically compare technology, program, policy and behavior options for reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases.
The work provides local, state, national and international governments, as well as individuals, private industry, trade associations, regulatory agencies, and international institutions with information to help them formulate effective energy and environmental approach.
Much of the energy used by buildings, including all of the energy used for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning, is for maintaining acceptable indoor environmental conditions. Many of the changes to building designs and operational practices that reduce energy consumption will also modify indoor environmental quality with potential impacts, positive or negative, on comfort, health, and performance. Consequently, building energy performance and indoor environmental quality must be addressed in a coordinated manner.
Indoor environment research goals are:
- Reducing the energy used for thermally conditioning and distributing ventilation air in buildings.
- Improving indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal comfort and the health and productivity of building occupants.
- Improving the scientific understanding of factors and processes affecting indoor air quality, pollutant exposures, and health effects.
- Developing the most effective ways of reducing indoor exposures to very hazardous chemical and biological agents in the event of accidental or intentional releases.
- Developing input for codes and standards that improve indoor environmental and energy performance of buildings.