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Decarbonization for All

As we celebrate FLEXLAB’s® first 10 years of accomplishments, we will be highlighting research achievements over this period and looking towards the future. In this newsletter we focus on projects that have supported deep energy retrofits and decarbonization of underserved communities. As we look towards mitigating climate change and creating a greener future, technical solutions should meet the needs of all building stakeholders and communities, including disadvantaged communities, low-income K-12 schools, and low-to-medium income multi-family and small commercial buildings. From energy efficiency to demand flexibility, FLEXLAB research informs how innovative states and the nation can achieve their lofty goals for a more equitable, just, and clean energy transition.

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Latest FLEXLAB News & Updates

How FLEXLAB Supports Decarbonization of the Grid, Communities, and Buildings

Decarbonizing buildings and the grid are key to meeting U.S. climate goals, and FLEXLAB is perfectly positioned to help with this. FLEXLAB’s testing capabilities span the full range of demand-side building systems, energy storage, renewable energy generation, and grid condition simulation and emulation. It’s an ideal environment to test the full spectrum of carbon saving and load flexible technologies. We recently published an article that highlighted a few notable projects that demonstrate FLEXLAB’s decarbonization research, focusing on the role of heat pumps in decarbonizing buildings, electric vehicles as a resilience and load flexibility resource, and technologies to support the underserved small commercial buildings market.

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Improving Energy Use and Environmental Quality for Schools

For the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office, FLEXLAB researchers developed sets of energy efficient, zero or low carbon, and indoor air quality (IAQ) improvement technology packages for schools. The FLEXLAB tests enabled researchers to illustrate both the energy and IAQ benefits of the technology packages under controlled poor air quality conditions. They illustrated up to 90% improvement in IAQ while also lowering energy costs. The results can quickly show K-12 schools the benefits of these cost-effective and lighter touch retrofits, and they are being referenced as accessible, achievable examples for applicants of the Renew America’s Schools BIL FOAs, and in support of schools gaining recognition for improvement efforts through the Efficient and Healthy Schools Program. Both programs lead the way in prioritizing support for K-12 schools in disadvantaged communities, providing funding and technical support in achieving these goals. 

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ZNE Small Commercial Building Retrofits

Funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC), researchers from Berkeley Lab developed cost-effective packages of technologies for zero net energy (ZNE) retrofits of small commercial offices in California. This underserved market typically doesn’t have access to comprehensive, cost-evaluative information about how to reduce energy use, as professional energy consulting services that identify savings opportunities tend to have proportionally higher costs compared to the energy cost savings gained. FLEXLAB researchers developed the cost-effective packages for easy access through the Commercial Building Energy Saver tool, and validated package performance in FLEXLAB, giving industry the confidence to apply them in existing buildings.

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Visits from EERE Leadership

Recently, FLEXLAB had the honor of hosting Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) leaders to brief them on current research and to discuss industry needs in the clean energy transition. Dr. Carolyn Snyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Buildings and Industry at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), leads offices that advance energy efficiency and reduce emissions from buildings and industry while supporting U.S. energy security and manufacturing competitiveness. Alejandro Moreno, Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for EERE at DOE, provides strategic advice and leadership in strategic planning, execution, and oversight of the EERE portfolio. While visiting Berkeley Lab, Dr. Snyder and Mr. Moreno had the opportunity to discuss industry challenges and future R&D needs, engage with Berkeley Lab staff, and tour multiple world-class laboratories, including FLEXLAB.

Photos © The Regents of the University of California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


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To learn how FLEXLAB® can work for you 

Contact Cindy Regnier 

Visit flexlab.lbl.gov

Cynthia Regnier, Executive Director

Mary Ann Piette, Associate Laboratory Director, Energy Technologies Area

Jessica Granderson, Acting Division Director, Building Technology & Urban Systems

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