The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, located in the hills above UC Berkeley with sweeping views of the Bay, has long been known for its cutting-edge research in energy efficiency.
On Thursday, it unveiled FLEXLAB, the world’s most advanced lab for studying energy efficiency in commercial buildings.
Buildings account for 40 percent of all U.S. electricity use, and reducing their usage is a critical piece of the overall effort to lower the use of fossil fuels. Lighting, plug loads and heating and cooling all contribute to a building’s overall energy use. Many buildings are designed to be energy-efficient but end up using more energy than planned once they are up and running and filled with workers. Testing next-generation technologies in real-world conditions has been challenging — until now.