Nearly half of all greenhouse-gas emissions come from the energy we use in buildings — where we live, work, learn, and do business. To protect the world’s climate, we’ll need to dig deep in cutting those emissions. Reducing energy end-use by buildings and the range of services and conveniences we employ in them is the most cost-effective way to approach this challenge. Today, momentum toward “deep energy-efficiency” in buildings is nothing short of revolutionary, thanks to expert planning, better monitoring, and new technologies. Energy-efficient buildings are key to an energy-efficient future.

Information Feedback Loops for Building Performance

First sketched with CIEE's colleagues at UC Berkeley and LBNL in 2009, this diagram illustrates a range of feedback opportunities for improving building performance across all time scales, from moment to moment monitoring for automated control, to retro-commissioing and retrofit, through to education for designers of future buildings. View Diagram »

What if we could cut our energy use in half in the buildings we occupy every day? What if we could quarter it? CIEE experts firmly believe we can. Their sights are set on such “deep efficiency,” with a conviction that fast-emerging technology can take us there. They are at work to bridge the “efficiency gap” — the difference between what people think is possible and what smart design and remarkable new technologies can actually achieve.

CIEE is finding ways to scale up deployment of deep efficiency in buildings at full scale, to meet aggressive goals for stemming climate change and ensuring secure energy delivery. Through new building technologies and smarter use of existing ones, their work is reducing energy costs and showing how investments in deep efficiency can pay big dividends over a building’s life cycle.

The CIEE approach is systematic. It advances smart design and the most promising research to improve building energy systems, partners with the California Energy Commission to demonstrate and launch new technologies, supports the California Public Utilities Commission with long-term strategic energy planning, and provides builders and building owners with tools to achieve high efficiency, by managing energy use and monitoring ongoing performance.

CIEE experts are advocating smart design for economical energy efficiency, as well as investment in more comprehensive retrofits, pushing past the “low-hanging fruit” of energy savings to seize the opportunity for deep efficiency over the life of a building.

UC Research Drives UC Energy Efficiency

With collaboration between CIEE, other UC RD&D centers, energy utilities, and UC facilities staff, UC campus energy efficiency efforts are leading the way. Learn More»

CIEE has been pivotal in creating two “living laboratories” for energy efficiency in buildings. The University of California’s all-new Merced campus continues to be an astounding study in the potential of smart design and energy-efficiency technologies, while the richly instrumented testbed in UC Berkeley’s Cory Hall is fertile ground for cultivating new technologies and fostering continuous innovation.