January 2008

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Commercial Buildings Initiative Workshop - New York

Paul Ehrlich, PE
Building Intelligence Group LLC

Contributing Editor


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What if commercial buildings didnít use any energy? While this sounds like science fiction, it is the goal of a new effort called by the Commercial Buildings Initiative or CBI. This effort has been jointly created by the six major industry organizations including:

At a public workshop held at the Winter ASHRAE meeting representatives of CBI explained why the concept of a net zero energy commercial building is not only possible, but an essential element for energy independence and to combat global warming. The recent passage of the Energy and Information Security Act (EISA) recognizes the need for a national Net Zero Energy Program and provides support for the funding of this initiative. ASHRAE is already making good progress with the development of new, more stringent energy codes as well as advanced energy design guidelines, which can be freely downloaded.

The initiative is focusing on developing action plans including how to develop new technologies, educate, and improve the process for designing, building and operating buildings. This project will require not just large scale technology improvements but a complete transformation of the commercial buildings market. This is not without risk and is estimated to take over 20 years to deliver. It also, however, opens new opportunities for designers, suppliers and contractors.

More information on CBI including copies of the material provided in New York can be found at http://buildings.lbl.gov/cbi


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