EEB Hub: Hank Foley explains the benefits of energy efficient buildings


On May 1, 2013, Hank Foley, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate school at Pennsylvania State University, visited the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability to discuss the successes of the Department of Energy's Efficient Energy Building (EEB) Hub and the potential of a mini-EEB Hub at Arizona State University.

The EEB Hub was established on February 1, 2011 by the Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) and is located at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. With its collaboration of major research universities, industrial firms, and national labs, the EEB Hub aims to develop the means to reduce energy use in commercial buildings by 20 percent by the year 2020. “The goal is hard to achieve,” Foley said. “This forces us to think of things in new ways”. The EEB Hub team has made significant strides by reaching architects, engineers, real estate developers, and building contractors to contribute to redesign and demonstrate scalable market proven solutions to reduce energy use in commercial buildings. To name only a few accomplishments, in the first year alone the EEB Hub has developed cloud infrastructure and a web-based information portal for high resolution building energy data, launched the School District of Philadelphia Sustainability Workshop providing project-based learning for 30 high school seniors, and established partnerships with regional and national allies, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.


According to the blog Hidden City Philadelphia, “Philadelphians spend 29 percent more on energy costs in commercial buildings than Americans do on average and energy spending is only higher in New York City, Washington, DC, and Boston.” The EEB Hub wants to change that statistic by spurring the development of more energy efficient buildings in the city. Foley said that the only way to accomplish this goal is to “inform people, validate information, and present proven technologies”. With population increasing and businesses growing in Phoenix, energy efficiency is also a very important issue for Phoenicians when planning the development of new buildings and homes. Arizona State University has worked diligently toward developing energy efficient technologies and buildings around all campuses to conserve energy and to strengthen public awareness to the benefits of EEBs. Implementing guidelines on room temperature (cooled no lower than 80° F), constructing LEED buildings, implementing the ASU Sustainable Design Policy, and the Campus Solarization program have all contributed to the future of buildings at ASU. One technology in particular that strengthens public awareness is ASU’s Campus Metabolism located online and on Tempe campus at Wrigley Hall. The Campus Metabolism is “an interactive web tool that enables the user to view the current resource use on campus”. The web tool is easy to use and allows the user to view the energy use of an individual building, building type, or the entire Tempe campus at different time scales. The Campus Metabolism displays the amount of campus energy consumption year-round and the user can also see the improvements energy efficient buildings have contributed to ASU’s overall energy use.

With these impressive steps toward increasing energy efficient buildings, Hank Foley believes that ASU has the potential to initiate a mini-EEB Hub. If this were to indeed take off, ASU would already be at a head start by having the information, validation, and presentation needed to set an example of how cities should plan and develop future buildings.

Written by Gabrielle Olson, ASU LightWorks

Photos retrieved from the Penn State News website and Kieran Timberlake, Hidden City Philadelphia Blog.

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