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Department of Energy’s FLEXLAB Opens Testbeds to Drive Dramatic Increase in Building Efficiency

From left to right, Carla Boragno, Senior VP, Site Services, Genentech; Laurie Giamomona, VP, Customer Service, PG&E; Andrew McAllister, Commissioner, California Energy Commission; Paul Alivisatos, Director, Berkeley Lab; Jes Pedersen, CEO, Webcor Builders (behind Alivisatos); Daniel Poneman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy (cutting ribbon); Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Nancy Skinner, Assemblywoman for California's 15th District; Aundra Richards, Site Manager, DOE Berkeley Site Office; Steven Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy; Ashok Gadgil, Director, Environmental Energy Technologies Division.

The world’s most advanced energy efficiency test bed for buildings is open for business, launched today by U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman. FLEXLAB is already signing up companies determined to reduce their energy use by testing and deploying the most energy efficient technologies as integrated systems under real-world conditions. The facility includes a rotating test bed to track and test sun exposure impacts, and other high-tech features.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Moonlight in “Cleanweb” Sector

The Smarter Sprinkler team at the 2014 Berkeley Cleanweb Hackathon.

By day scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are researching ways to better tackle our country’s energy and environmental challenges. By night some of them are doing, well, the exact same thing. Using the knowledge from their day jobs some enterprising researchers are harnessing the power of big data to create innovative solutions for conserving water and energy.

Berkeley Lab Launches Building Energy Performance Research Project at New FLEXLAB Testing Facility

The DOE’s David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, was on hand in Berkeley April 14 to tour FLEXLAB™, the Facility for Low Energy experiments in Buildings, run by Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division. Danielson and Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos also met with executives from construction firm Webcor. Webcor’s testing in FLEXLAB will allow its engineers to predict and improve the energy performance for a new building constructed for biotech company, Genentech. A building mockup for Genentech will be studied at different building orientations, specific to the actual construction site. As part of his visit to the Lab, Danielson also toured the Molecular Foundry.

Holistic Cell Design by Berkeley Lab Scientists Leads to High-Performance, Long Cycle-Life Lithium-Sulfur Battery

Researchers at Berkeley Lab have demonstrated in the laboratory a lithium-sulfur (Li/S) battery that has more than twice the specific energy of lithium-ion batteries, and that lasts for more than 1,500 cycles of charge-discharge with minimal decay of the battery’s capacity. This is longest cycle life reported so far for any lithium-sulfur battery.

Berkeley Lab Report Finds U.S. Energy Service Companies Experienced Steady Growth Despite Recession

Aggregate revenue growth rates for U.S. energy service companies (ESCOs) significantly outpaced U.S. GDP growth during the three-year period 2009 to 2011, according to a new report by researchers at Berkeley Lab. ESCOs primarily use performance-based contracts to provide energy efficiency, renewable and other energy-related services while guaranteeing that installed equipment, controls and other measures will deliver a specified amount of cost and resource savings to the customer.

Q&A:The Facility for Low Energy eXperiments in Buildings (FLEXLAB)

The Facility for Low Energy eXperiments in Buildings (FLEXLAB) is designed to be a national focal point for developing, simulating and testing energy-efficient technologies and strategies for buildings. FLEXLAB users will conduct research and develop technologies at FLEXLAB on single components as well as whole-building integrated design and operation aimed at substantially lowering the energy use, and improving the comfort and performance of both new and existing buildings. FLEXLAB is a facility of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD).

A Path to Better MTV-MOFs:

A team of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers have developed a method for accurately predicting the ability of MTV-MOFs (multivariate metal organic frameworks) to scrub carbon dioxide from the exhaust gases of fossil fuel power plants.

Building Performance Database Helps Building Owners, Investors Evaluate Energy Efficient Buildings

A new database of building features and energy use data helps building managers, owners, real estate investors, and lenders evaluate the financial results of energy efficiency investment projects and identify high and low-performing buildings. The database is being developed by a Berkeley Lab team led by Paul Mathew.

Berkeley Lab Breaks Ground on Flexible Design Building to Test Low-energy Systems and Components

L-R: Assoc. Lab Director Don DePaolo; Mark Chekal-Bain, Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Nancy Skinner; Robert Weisenmiller, Chairman, CA Energy Comm.; DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy, Steven Chalk; Horst Simon, Dep. Lab Director; Ashok Gadgil, Director, EETD

Berkeley Lab broke ground on the start of construction for the Facility for Low-Energy eXperiments on Buildings (FLEXLAB). Like a life-size set of building blocks, FLEXLAB is the first of its kind in both size and scope, and will allow researchers and manufacturers to test building systems and components under “real-world” conditions.

Innovation on the Cutting-Edge: Advancing Energy Efficiency Through Two New ARPA-E Projects at Berkeley Lab

Delia Milliron (Photo:Roy Kaltschmidt)

Two Berkeley Lab research projects were awarded grants by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to advance energy technologies. The two grants total nearly $5 million. One will focus on smart window technologies and the other on thermal mapping of buildings.