UC Berkeley's Jacobs Hall Facility Saves 65 percent in energy bills

By John Jameson, ICF International on Dec 05, 2016

On October 25, the Department of Energy (DOE) visited the campus of Better Buildings Challenge partner University of California, Berkeley, to recognize the university for its leadership in energy efficiency and see their innovative efficiency projects in action.

The University achieved 65 percent energy savings at its Jacobs Hall facility, the College of Engineering’s interdisciplinary hub where students and teachers from across the university work at the intersection of design and technology. Additionally, through its Energy Management Initiative (EMI)—an innovative approach to linking energy costs to building occupants—UC Berkeley has achieved campus-wide energy savings of $6.5 million and now has a practice in place to help benchmark energy performance in its buildings.

DOE’s Jason Hartke, Commercial Buildings Integration program manager, toured Jacobs Hall, a collaborative, project-based educational space featuring open-plan workshops for hands-on interdisciplinary learning. In addition to its energy-efficient design, Jacobs Hall incorporates many other best practices in green building and after just five months in operation, the building expects energy savings of 65 percent, or $41,000.

UC Berkeley pursued a variety of strategies to lower energy use in Jacobs Hall. The floor plan allows daylight harvesting and natural ventilation through operable windows. Sixty percent of the building’s energy needs are provided by a 74 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array. The building envelope includes external shading devices tailored to the south, east, and west exposures, with high performance glazing and cool roofing. Although relatively bright lighting is required by the workshop, efficient fixtures and controls are used to manage lighting energy use.