I'm not sure how I missed this -- it must have been all the news about cleantech being America's new "Sputnik" space race, but with China -- but last Tuesday the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was awarding $21 million in technical assistance for reducing energy used by commercial buildings.
The funds come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the stimulus.
The winners here are commercial building owners and operators, who receive the assistance of DOE researchers and private sector building experts. The teams will design, construct, measure, and test low-energy building plans, then help with the deployment of cost-effective energy-saving measures in the buildings.
"These [projects] help businesses and organizations reduce the energy they use in their facilities, saving them money on their energy bills and making them more competitive economically," energy secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.
The point is to show building operators that energy efficiencies are available with today's technology, not just tomorrow's. The goal is to achieve 30 percent measured energy savings in existing buildings and 50 percent energy savings in new construction, for two dozen projects over three years.
Once complete, the DOE will make comprehensive business and technical case studies -- including performance data -- publicly available.
To prevent the act of simply throwing money at two dozen lucky building owners, the actual funding boils down to a public-private cost-sharing agreement; building owners and operators must contribute at least 20 percent, and the funds -- anywhere from $200,000 to $1.2 million per project -- are made available as services, not grants.
- Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction; The Bullitt Foundation (Seattle, Wash.)
- Center for Alternative, Renewable Energy, Technology and Training; Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.)
- The College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
- The Defense Commissary Agency; Lackland Air Force Base (San Antonio, Texas)
- Grand Valley State University (Allendale, Mich.)
- Hines (Somerset, N.J.)
- The Home Depot (Rocklin, Calif.)
- Living City Block (Denver, Colo.)
- The LOOP at the University of California; Mesa Lane Partners (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
- Long Beach Gas and Oil (Long Beach, Calif.)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Portland, Ore.)
- Shy Brothers Farm (Westport, Mass.)
- Sierra Nevada Job Corps (Reno, Nev.)
- Smart Grid Development (North Kingstown, R.I.)
- Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (Los Angeles, Calif.)
- University of California Merced (Merced, Calif.)
- University of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C.)
- U.S. Army (Fort Bragg, N.C.)
- U.S. General Services Administration (Portsmouth, N.H.)
- U.S. General Services Administration (Region 9 locations)
- U.S. General Services Administration (San Francisco, Calif.)
- Walmart (Two locations TBD)
Three DOE national laboratories are signed up to assist: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, theNational Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Photo: Energy secretary Steven Chu spackles walls for The Saint Bernard Project in New Orleans. (DOE/Flickr)
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com