Creating Sustainable Knowledge of the Built Environment

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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.

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Sean Gulbin

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Sean Gulbin is the Coordinator of Architecture and Building Science Research Projects at the Center for Building Knowledge at NJIT. At the Center, he has worked on the development of the New Jersey Clean Energy Learning Center, on online training resource which operates on behalf of the New Jersey Clean Energy Program and provides training and education for its stakeholders in the residential and commercial, industrial, and local government industry sectors. Sean is particularly interested in the great potential for sustainable practices and policies to positively impact the built environment. Prior to joining the Center, he worked in private practice at an architectural firm in central New Jersey, working primarily on residential projects. He also worked as a Research Assistant at the Center while completing his studies at NJIT.

Sean holds a B.S. Architecture from The Catholic University of America, and a M. Architecture from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. 

Contact

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Center for Building Knowledge
335 Campbell Hall
323 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Newark, NJ 07102-1982

Phone: (973) 596-3097
Fax: (973) 596-8443
Email: cbk@njit.edu

Asset Score Tool

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Asset Score Tool: The Building Energy Asset Score Training and Certificate of Proficiency is a hands-on visual demonstration and practicum of how to use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Asset Score tool. The Asset Score Tool allows a user without energy modeling expertise to easily and reliably build a robust 3-D model of a building’s physical assets and simulate the building’s energy use. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to act as a national standard for building energy efficiency assessments. It provides users with:

•  A 1-10 point asset score based on a building’s physical assets and a weather-normalized Energy Use Intensity rating based on an EnergyPlus model

•  Upgrade recommendations for reducing energy use, minimizing energy bills, and improving building asset value 

The Asset Score tool and additional information can be found at: http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/building-energy-asset-score

NJPBEEP

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Working with the NJ Board of Public Utilities and the Sustainable Jersey organization, CBK is helping to create the New Jersey Public Buildings Energy Efficiency Program (NJPBEEP). NJBEEP’s overall objective is to achieve a 20% or greater reduction in energy consumption in local government buildings statewide. New Jersey has a full slate of Clean Energy Programs funded by a Societal Benefits Charge. The programs that cover local public buildings include incentives for building audits and upgrades and various financing options. Despite the variety of offerings, New Jersey has struggled to give out all of the funds it has available. A significant obstacle is that the programs are each operated and marketed individually, and there is no single point of entry, or easily identified best option, for confused local governments. NJPBEEP will create a single point of entry, a simple decision tree that enables local governments to choose a “pathway” best suited for their building portfolio, and an A to Z support system that guides them to an endpoint where all of their building stock has been upgraded to the highest degree warranted by cost benefit analysis. The effort will rely on energy performance contracting combined with State incentives and rebates, to finance deep retrofits.

Advanced Buildings Core Performance Training Program

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CBK staff, in collaboration with National Grid and NSTAR staff, analyzed the then-newly implemented Advanced Buildings Core Performance program.  Based on the results of this analysis, CBK staff developed and delivered a marketing strategy, curricular materials, and training program on Core Performance for design professionals throughout the State of Massachusetts, including the annual BuildBoston event.

Energy Efficient O&M Program Analysis

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CBK, under contract to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clean Energy Program, conducted a comprehensive study to evaluate the feasibility of a implementing an energy efficient operations and maintenance incentive program within New Jersey.   The study resulted in a series of recommendations including strategies, budgets, anticipated outcomes and evaluation methods that could be the basis of a pilot program in this area.  A core goal was to create a program that would eventually be self sustaining and that would rely, to the extent possible, on current building owners to perpetuate.  These efforts resulted in a model program, including a mock-up of a web application tool, tentatively titled “Operate Smart” to serve this need.

Food Sales Program

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In support of NSTAR’s Energy Efficiency Program, CBK provided research and technical assistance on an as-needed basis to design, implement, and ultimately evaluate a program offering specifically targeted at improving the energy efficiency of the food sales industry - a market segment that is both particularly energy intensive and, to date, not well served by regional program offerings.  CBK has drawn upon national research and their own experience to advise NSTAR on matters such as market characteristics, motivations, and barriers to the successful implementation of such a program.  

Home Performance with Energy Star Program Analysis

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As part of CBK’s work for the Department of Energy Building America Program, the Center  is researching  New Jersey’s Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) program to determine which packages of energy efficiency measures are  achieving 30% energy savings or greater in existing homes. The Center will work with the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, and Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) to evaluate the specific measures implemented in 50-100 homes that have achieved measured energy savings of more than 30%. Measurements will be based on utility bill data, not modeled savings. The Center will also look at the return on investment (ROI) of the packages using measure implementation costs from the homes. This project will identify the most common packages that achieve 30% or greater energy savings in existing homes.

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