Creating Sustainable Knowledge of the Built Environment

The Center for Building Knowledge (CBK) is a 25-year-old research, training and technical assistance institute affiliated with the College of Architecture and Design. CBK is dedicated to generating new knowledge to improve the built environment and enhance the planning, design, construction and operation of facilities. CBK’s mission is to help individuals and communities make better-informed decisions about the performance, sustainability and resilience of buildings nationwide. Recently, the Center has focused on online tools to educate building professionals on how to improve the performance of the buildings they design and construct. The Certificate of Proficiency in Benchmarking program, for example, provides users with training on how to benchmark the energy use of a building using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool. The program, developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the cooperation of the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, launched in 2015. The Certificate of Proficiency in Asset Score online program, a follow-on project funded by DOE, provides training on how to use a new tool from the agency that evaluates the energy efficiency of key physical “assets” within a facility – building envelope, lighting and HVAC systems – and tabulates an “asset score” for it. Developed with the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation, the program launched in April 2016. Currently, CBK is developing the Clean Energy Learning Center, a new online energy-efficiency training and resource platform for the New Jersey Clean Energy Program.