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Better Buildings Initiative Expanding to Increase U.S. Laboratories Efficiency

Sept. 28, 2016

A typical laboratory uses nearly four times as much energy as the average commercial building. 

The U.S. Department of Energy is launching the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator to advance energy efficiency in laboratory buildings owned and operated by universities, corporations, national laboratories, hospitals and federal agencies.

The effort, as part of the Obama Administration’s effort to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings and facilities, will pursue ambitious energy-saving targets and strategies to address key obstacles to improving energy efficiency.

A typical laboratory uses nearly four times as much energy as the average commercial building and can account for up to 70% of a given campus' energy footprint. If laboratory buildings improved their energy efficiency by 20%, annual energy and cost savings could reach an estimated 40 trillion British Thermal Units or $1 billion.

"Working together, Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator partners will create road maps that they and organizations across the country can use to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of their labs and reduce costs," says Kathleen Hogan, U.S. Department of Energy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency. "Low-cost operational changes, more capital-intensive technological upgrades, and robust strategic energy management systems are all approaches that will be explored and developed through this Accelerator."

The following organizations announced they are joining the Smart Labs Accelerator, committing to improve the efficiency of their laboratories by 20% in 10 years, with 5% savings coming within three years through no- and low-cost measures:

  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Colorado

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