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UW IDL Partners with City of Seattle on Federal Grant to Increase Building Energy Efficiency

The University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab (UW IDL) is partnering with the City of Seattle to develop and implement a three-year program that supports Seattle’s Building Tune-Ups ordinance, an initiative to roll-out mandatory energy tune-ups for commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or larger, beginning in 2018.

UW IDL’s work with the City of Seattle is part of a $1.3 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Integration program – a federal effort to significantly cut energy waste from buildings across the nation. The City’s project team – headed by the Office of Sustainability & Environment – was one of six national award recipients and includes the UW IDL, Seattle City Light, the Smart Buildings Center, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The UW IDL will work with the project team to engage building owners, managers and vendors to develop market expertise and accelerate the voluntary implementation of energy efficiency improvements in Seattle’s small and medium commercial building stock – buildings that will be subject to phased mandatory tune-ups beginning in 2020.

The Building Tune-Ups legislation is a key component of Seattle’s Climate Action Plan, a roadmap to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, which includes an ambitious target to reduce 45% of commercial building energy emissions by 2030.

More information on this grant can be found here. Please contact UW IDL Program Manager Tina Dilegge for questions or comments.

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UW IDL shares research at ACEEE summer conference

The University of Washington’s (UW) Integrated Design Lab (IDL) was recently selected to present its research at the 2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. On behalf of the UW IDL and collaborators, Christopher Meek, IDL Director, and Julie Kriegh, Principal of Kriegh Architects, attended the biennial conference in Pacific Grove, CA, which brought together building, utilities, design, government, nonprofit, academic and business professionals from around the world to discuss the climatic impacts of buildings, and technologies and strategies for reducing building energy use.

Meek and Kriegh presented three research papers, including a campus pilot study supported by the UW Sustainability Office. The study applied a Building User Audit Procedure (BUAP) tool on the UW campus to account for the cultural and behavioral factors that influence building energy efficiency. The study found that UW campus occupants (students, faculty, and staff) are a considerable source of energy use; however, they are well-positioned to and interested in making pro-environmental choices that would significantly reduce energy consumption. This highlights the importance of providing building occupants with targeted resources and tools in order to encourage daily, actionable behaviors that positively impact climate change.

Other studies presented drew upon UW IDL’s ongoing monitoring and evaluation of energy performance and occupant behavior data from the Bullitt Center, a high performance commercial building known as the greenest office building in the world. The research papers investigated two topics: the application of a pilot pay-for-performance structure (the Metered Energy Efficiency Transaction System or ‘MEETS’) at the Bullitt Center; and how the design of a building can promote occupant-behavior-driven energy savings. The culmination of this research provides an evidence-base for constructing the highest performing built environments, which will play a key role in positively impacting human and environmental health in years to come.

As current tenants in the Bullitt Center, the UW IDL has been actively involved with the building since providing daylighting analysis and advisory services to the design team in 2011. Operating out of the Department of Architecture’s Center for Integrated Design, the UW IDL applies research, technical assistance, and works with the Discovery Commons to provide education and outreach in order to show what’s possible in building sustainable urban environments.

Research presented at the ACEEE Summer Study was supported by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) , the Bullitt Foundation, and the University of Washington Sustainability Office.

Please contact UW IDL Program Manager Tina Dilegge for questions or comments.