October 22, 2018
Staff Accomplishment

Developing Buildings of the Future, Wang Wins Lab Director Award

PNNL engineer conceptualized, led teams to develop energy-efficiency tools for homes and buildings

Nora Wang

Regarded as a national expert in building energy-efficiency rating and evaluation, PNNL senior engineer Nora Wang has a track record of leading multidisciplinary teams through complex projects focused on improving energy efficiency of buildings. Her outstanding scientific work earned her PNNL’s 2018 Laboratory Director’s Award for Exceptional Engineering Achievement.

The award is part of a suite of PNNL Laboratory Director Awards launched in 2005 that recognize excellence in science, engineering, lifetime achievements, and early career accomplishments.

Wang has led projects critical to meeting DOE’s aggressive goals to decrease the amount of energy the nation’s buildings use and the carbon dioxide they emit. She has helped bring next-generation buildings into reality.

Wang conceptualized and led the team that developed the first energy asset rating system for commercial and multifamily buildings in the nation. The rating system—called Asset Score—allows building owners, tenants, realtors, and investors to comparison shop for the most efficient unit, and presents average potential savings of 30 percent on energy bills if recommended improvements are made. Asset Score was highlighted in a 2016 White House event. Asset score has been adopted by several major cities to support their energy efficiency programs.

Wang also envisioned and developed Buildings of the Future—a project that integrates building, urban, climate, and environmental sciences, to provide a technical vision for the trajectory of mainstream U.S. buildings in a century. Building industry professionals and research communities have used the outcomes from this study to get a head start on meeting needs for zero-carbon-emitting, interoperable, resilient, and healthy buildings.

She also conceived and spearheaded the transactive-control-based Connected Homes. By integrating a home’s heating/cooling systems, water heaters, and other appliances, the controls allow families to actively make decisions about their homes’ energy use based on schedules and cost.

Finally, Wang was lauded for conceptualizing the Unique Building Identification (UBID) system, which simplifies energy data tracking and mapping—data that is typically disparate and scattered—by assigning buildings globally unique identifiers. UBIDs have been generated for all buildings in major cities like San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and Chicago, and Wang and her team are developing a way to automatically generate and verify identifiers.