• Permanent Load Shifting

    Permanent load shifting (PLS) refers to the shifting of energy usage  from one time period to another during the course of a day on a regularly recurring basis. Building cooling (space cooling) is one of the major factors leading to high electricity costs for office buildings, retail stores, and other facilities. Space cooling also represents one of the largest loads on the grid, making afternoons the typical on-peak period, as the greatest cooling load is present during this time. On very warm days, the afternoon peak can reach a critical level. More and more, customers are paying electricity prices that vary with the time of day and it is not unusual to see the highest prices during the on-peak hours. PLS is a strategy to deal with electricity costs that are based on this type of pricing.


  • Integrated Design

    Integrated Design is a process that purposefully brings together the work of various design and engineering disciplines to produce buildings that cost less to operate; are easier to maintain; and are more attractive, marketable, and comfortable than buildings designed through the more traditional, compartmentalized approach. The benefits of integrated energy design can often be achieved with little or no increase in first costs.


  • Building Commissioning

    Building commissioning is the systematic process of ensuring that a building's complex array of systems is designed, installed, and tested to perform according to the design intent and the building owner's operational needs. The commissioning of new buildings will be most effective when considered throughout the planning stages and as early as schematic design.


  • Deep Energy Retrofits

    A growing body of research documenting the benefits of energy efficiency is leading policymakers, investors, building owners, and construction professionals to seek ways to scale up the energy efficiency retrofit market.

    As the retrofit market develops, engineers, architects and other design professionals are positioning themselves to seize a robust business opportunity by offering deep energy retrofit services—retrofits that aim to deliver greater energy savings by taking a whole-building approach to energy efficiency...

    Image: AIA/RMI


  • Energy Detailing

    The best energy design strategies for buildings can only work if they are actually communicated properly to those who complete the construction. The practice of energy detailing specifies, counterchecks, and verifies the design details in the actual structure, maximizing actual building performance upon project completion.


  • Financial Analysis & Benefits

    Energy efficient buildings can provide substantial economic return to building owners, developers, and tenants. Besides lower energy bills, additional benefits from improved occupant comfort, worker productivity, tenant retention, and property valuation can improve the financial performance of a project well beyond the basic energy cost savings.


  • Zero-Net Energy

    Zero-Net-Energy (ZNE) new buildings offer numerous benefits including optimum energy performance, reduced criteria pollutants, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as well as non‐energy benefits such as improved comfort and building functionality.

    Simply put, a ZNE building generates at least as much energy as it consumes annually. For a more technical definition, see our ZNE Defined page. 

    A number of studies have shown that 'Getting to Zero' is technically feasible in California, most readily in newly constructed residential buildings, but also in most types of nonresidential facilities. ZNE generally costs less when teams use truly 'integrated' design to optimize energy efficiency first, thereby reducing the loads that must be offset with onsite generation (typically a solar photovoltaic system).

    Tall buildings (with limited space for solar modules onsite), or other highly energy-intensive buildings (such as small restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, etc.) may have difficulty reaching "zero" unless offsetting renewable generation can be located offsite.

    Existing buildings can reach Zero-Net Energy too. Watch the Office of the Future video below, or learn more about Deep Energy Retrofits.

    image: ZNE Center, San Leandro, CA