Energy Efficiency

Improving Energy Efficiency

Appliance and Equipment R&D and Performance Assessment

Tom Burke and Solomon Johnson work in the Psychrometric Test Chamber.

We support research on current high-efficiency products to help determine the performance of advanced designs, as well as development and fabrication of prototypes based on state-of-the-art research and practices to test the viability of next-generation products. We test existing products to assess their performance, verify product efficiency, and evaluate and describe why product performance and efficiency may not meet stated technical specifications.Tom Burke.... We also develop new testing protocols and test methods to fully account for advanced and more efficient designs whose benefits are not currently captured by existing test procedures.

In the global context, we conduct analyses to estimate potential energy and emissions impacts of appliance adoption and changes in appliance efficiency. Software tools developed to support this effort include the Bottom-Up Energy Analysis System (BUENAS) projects appliance energy demand and emissions through 2030 globally and by country, and Policy Analysis Modeling System (PAMS). Berkeley Lab has also provided technical assistance in areas such as enforcement testing, laboratory round-robin testing, strengthening the framework for standards and labeling development, and policy impact assessments.

Efficient Industrial Systems

Next-generation manufacturing has the potential to strengthen the economy while minimizing environmental impacts. We conduct decision analysis support and develop analytical tools designed to enable the identification, development and deployment of technologies and strategies that have the potential to:

  • Improve energy-water-materials efficiency
  • Reduce the carbon footprint
  • Enhance competitiveness across various sectors in the industrial economy

Hot steel on a conveyor belt

Examples of ongoing projects include strategic analysis support for U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, development and maintenance of the Lifecycle Industry GreenHouse gas, Technology and Energy through the Use Phase (LIGHTEnUP) tool, scenario analysis modeling of emerging water desalination technologies, and energy use modeling for the U.S. data center sector.

In the global context, we conduct in-depth analysis including energy demand forecasting, energy efficiency improvement potentials, and energy savings and emissions reduction opportunities in the energy-intensive industries (e.g., iron and steel, chemicals, petroleum refining, cement, aluminum, pulp and paper), as well as some light industries (e.g., food processing, textiles, wood products, printing and publishing, metal processing). Our work includes global modeling and assessment, country-specific analyses such as China, India, and the U.S, and policy and program analysis. We have developed various energy efficiency technology guidebooks, as well as analytical tools such as energy auditing tools, benchmarking tools, and techno-economic analysis tools.

A hand holding digital tablet and looking at house efficiency rating.

Energy Saving Performance Contracting

We work in partnership with the National Association of Energy Service Companies to conduct strategic assessments of industry performance and market trends for Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and manage the largest database of ESCO projects in the world. ESCOs achieve significant cost-effective energy and water savings for end-use customers, primarily through performance-based contracting that guarantees annual energy savings levels. Our secure web-based data standardization and tracking system, eProject Builder (ePB), enables users to collect and report comparable financial and performance parameters for ESCO projects across all market sectors, including federal, state, local, K–12, universities and colleges, public housing, health, industrial, and private commercial.

Other Efficiency Research and Technical Assistance

Achieving improvements in energy efficiency that offer the greatest benefits to consumers, utility systems, and society at large for the lowest cost requires careful and unbiased research, analysis, and technical assistance. Specific areas of work include:

  • Analyzing what it costs to save energy through efficiency programs funded by utility customers
  • Projecting future program spending and savings
  • Assessing the time-sensitive and locational value of energy efficiency
  • Determining the impacts of energy efficiency programs through evaluation, measurement, and verification
  • Analyzing the role of financing in driving energy efficiency, financing programs and products, and ways to advance private capital investment
  • Providing technical support to state public utility commissions and energy offices that oversee energy efficiency programs