U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency David Rodgers announced the launch of DOE’s Zero-Net Energy Commercial Building Initiative (CBI) with establishment of the National Laboratory Collaborative on Building Technologies Collaborative (NLCBT). These two efforts both focus on DOE’s ongoing efforts to develop marketable zero-net-energy commercial buildings-—buildings that use cutting-edge efficiency technologies and on-site renewable energy generation to offset their energy use from the electricity grid by 2025.

The announcement was made at the California Clean Tech Open, a business plan competition that supports innovative and sustainable new businesses, which focus on energy efficiency, smart power, renewable energy, transportation, green building technologies, pollution control and resource management. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will help sponsor the 2008 California Clean -Tech Open.

“DOE’s Commercial Building Initiative and the collaborative are urgently needed to accelerate innovation and market adoption in the field of high- performance buildings,” Rodgers said. “Now we are bringing to bear the unprecedented collaboration in scientific resources of five national laboratories to bring about the needed transformation of the built environment, lower our carbon footprint in buildings and accelerate commercial deployment of clean, efficient building technologies.”

In 2005, commercial buildings used 18 percent of energy in the United States. The Zero-Net Energy CBI strives to make new commercial buildings capable of generating as much energy as they consume available by 2025. Energy generation will be achieved through advanced energy-efficiency technologies and on-site renewable energy generation systems, such as solar power and geothermal energy.