Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) advances and helps achieve the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) vision of high-performing commercial buildings that use substantially less energy.
Many types of structures fit the definition of commercial buildings—offices, schools, hospitals, retail stores, warehouses, large multi-family residences, and more. America’s commercial buildings reflect a variety of ages, construction types, and configurations, from single-level structures to skyscrapers. These buildings collectively contain tens of billions of square feet of floor space and consume greater than one-third of the nation’s electricity. Each year, new structures are added to the nation’s commercial building stock.
Experts contend that most commercial buildings use more energy than they need. Consumption can be reduced through the adoption of new efficiency-focused methods and technologies. Such improvements also can save money, help protect the environment, and generate economic benefits.
The DOE Building Technologies Office (BTO), through its Commercial Buildings Integration program, develops and advances innovative energy-saving measures that deliver impactful, cost-effective results.
PNNL partners with BTO to understand and remove potential barriers for promising new methods, as well as verify and validate the performance of technologies and systems. Specifically, researchers draw on longstanding, buildings-related capabilities and contributions to deliver expertise and tools that
- Assess the physical and structural energy efficiency of existing commercial buildings and identify improvements
- Sharpen understanding of building locations, footprints, and other characteristics to better assess energy consumption and efficiency potential
- Help realize the ultralow-energy buildings of the future through testing and evaluation of promising technologies
- Combine energy efficiency with renewable on-site energy generation to make buildings as self-sufficient as possible.