Success Story

Real World Testing for Energy Efficient Buildings

Commercial, industrial and residential buildings use nearly 40 percent of all energy, and over two-thirds of all electricity consumed, in the United States. Many energy efficient building materials, windows, lighting and HVAC choices are available for new construction and retrofits. However, the best selections, when integrated into a particular building project and location, can only be determined theoretically – not in practice.

The Facility for Low Energy Experiments in Buildings (FLEXLAB) was developed by the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a test-bed to research and develop cost effective, energy-saving building systems and technologies for both new construction and retrofits. Its features include a rotating test bed, for varying sun exposure, and interchangeable lighting, walls, and other architectural elements.

FLEXLAB was inaugurated in summer 2014. Building contract Webcor is utilizing FLEXLAB to plan a 250,000 square-foot building to serve as biotech company Genentech’s new South San Francisco headquarters. Bay Area utility PG&E has signed an agreement to test whole building energy efficiency technologies to develop future incentive programs. Agreements with other industry partners – from the fields of architecture and design, utilities, regional energy and trade organizations, and energy efficient technology manufacturers – are in development.