BEST Center & Lawrence Berkeley National Lab invite you to attend the
2022 Annual Institute, Jan. 5th - 7th. 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM PST (11:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST)

Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. Since 2012, its mission has been to create high-performance technicians who can help commercial buildings to save energy, maintain comfort, and keep occupants healthy. Among its efforts, BEST assists community and technical colleges with curriculum development in building science, building automation, and energy management.

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) is one of 17 national labs under the direction of the Department of Energy. LBNL's research includes energy science, biological & environmental sciences, computing & mathematics, high-energy physics, accelerator science, and energy technology. Improving energy efficiency in buildings and appliances (e.g. Energy Star program) is among its prime objectives.

Co-hosted by BEST and LBNL, the 2022 Annual Institute is the premier event for faculty, students, and technical professionals aspiring to improve the knowledge and practice of high-performance building operations. This year’s theme is Building Technician Education in a Time of Challenges & Innovation.

This event is endorsed by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers). 

What to Expect - See the FAQ page also

Educational &
Technical Research

See presentations & demonstrations by leading experts.

Forum of Ideas

Converse with speakers & attendees and engage in video breakout discussions.

Virtual Expo Hall

Meet industry sponsors to learn about products, training & discounts.


Expand your connections & career potential in building operations and facilities

Your Guide to the Virtual Institute

Watch the following video to learn how to find these different spaces inside
the virtual Conference Center:

  • Entrance Lobby - Go from here to the other spaces.
  • Auditorium - You'll see all the presentation sessions and be able to ask questions.
  • Expo Hall - Meet vendors and industry sponsors for assistance with equipment, training, and discounts.
  • Networking Lounge - Chat with speakers, sponsors, and attendees to expand your connections in building operations and facilities.
  • Small Group Discussions - Join these facilitated video discussions at the end of each day.

Why should you attend?

Come and learn about education and technology at the intersection of sustainability, energy conservation, clean energy, and healthy building operations. A dynamic line-up of speakers and interactive sessions will help you to:

  • Learn about cutting-edge technical innovations, research, teaching methods, and resources
  • Exchange ideas with speakers and attendees in video breakout rooms or the Networking Lounge
  • Meet vendors and industry sponsors in the Expo Hall for assistance with equipment, training, and discounts
  • Expand your professional connections and career potential in building operations and facilities.

Who should attend?

  • College educators and students in building science, HVAC, energy management, and building automation programs
  • Teachers of high school physics, technical, and engineering courses
  • Building engineers, technicians, and facilities managers
  • Design and construction professionals
  • Decision-makers and anyone interested in making their buildings greener and healthier!

Overview of the Institute

The impacts of the climate crisis are everywhere around us with severe droughts, wildfires without precedent, extreme weather, ruined crops and famines, and increasing numbers of climate refugees. Despite the global effort to align on environmental priorities, COP 26 ended with a mix of hope and disappointment. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic weighs down recovery efforts with uncertainty, while eager anticipation surrounds the Build Back Better legislative initiative.

Escaping these realities is not an option but focusing on making buildings safe places to live and work while also being energy efficient is part of the solution. In the current situation the building sector faces two big challenges: how to ensure that buildings are safe for occupancy as workers return to their onsite jobs, and how to move forward with more energy efficient building operations. To address these challenges, ongoing technical innovations in the application of Building Automation Systems (BAS), building de-carbonization strategies, on-site energy generation and storage, grid interactive energy management—the list goes on—are also impacting building operations.

As the building sector pursues a greener and healthier future, the role and importance of the technician workforce operating these buildings will become steadily greater. Similarly, the scope and relevance of technical education will also be magnified.

The BEST Center 3-day National Institute will focus our attention on the sustainability challenges we face and the innovative solutions to pursue.  We will highlight legislative and international efforts, innovations in the field of energy efficiency and Building Automation Systems, and strategies and opportunities for educators and industry.

Agenda and Speakers

(All times listed in Pacific time zone)

Wednesday, Jan. 5

8:30 to 9:45 am

Keynote: Strategic Initiatives for Decarbonization
COP26 and the Role of Nature in Global Decarbonization Pathways - Jennifer Holm
California's Path to Decarbonization - Andrew McAllister

This session will feature two talks. Dr. Jennifer Holm will describe her recent trip to Scotland for the COP26 meetings. This will include an overview of what happened in COP26, some highlights from how her research relates to evaluating climate change, and global strategies to decarbonize our energy systems. Commissioner Andrew McAllister will provide an overview of efforts in California to decarbonize the economy, with an overview of strategies to decarbonize the buildings sector.

9:45 to 10:00 am


10:00 to 10:30 am

Federal Action in Building Decarbonization

This talk will provide an overview of the national energy strategy related to decarbonization of the buildings sector. Dr. Granderson will present highlights and updates to national priorities, technologies, and deployment programs.

10:30 to 11:00 am

Decarbonization Modeling: Methods and Metrics

Decarbonizing the U.S. buildings sector is a key pillar of achieving economy-wide net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; therefore, the development of plausible pathways for deep reductions in building emissions is a pressing national need. Quantitative models of building energy use and emissions at scale are an important resource for such assessments; however, interpreting results from these models can be challenging without a broader understanding of the methods and metrics that they employ. This presentation introduces key concepts for decarbonization modeling through the lens of Scout (, an openly-available model that enables rapid assessment of building energy and emissions reduction scenarios at the regional and national scales. Topics include the definition of inputs and outputs of interest, representation of energy and emissions flows, and translation of results into useful decision-making insights. The presentation will also cover emerging modeling areas such as the coupling of models across the buildings and power sectors and accounting for new sources of building emissions. The presentation will conclude by discussing opportunities for advancing the scope and impact of building decarbonization modeling at a critical juncture for U.S. climate ambitions.

11:00 to 11:15 am


11:15 to 11:45 am

Decarbonization with Grid Interactive Efficient Buildings

This presentation will describe the need for grid interactive efficient buildings, what they are, and why they are important for decarbonization. This talk will also describe the opportunity for decarbonization with electrifying space and water heating. To ensure that the electric grid can accommodate these new loads, we need to ensure that they are grid interactive.

11:45 to 12:45 pm

Indoor Air Quality Management After COVID-19

At the 2021 Institute, Professor Bahnfleth discussed ASHRAE's recommendations for HVACR operations in order to mitigate the indoor transmission of the COVID virus. He will provide an update and also look ahead at how indoor air quality (IAQ) can continue to be improved to enhance the well-being of building occupants.

12:45 to 1:00 pm


1:00 to 2:00 pm

Teaching Sustainability & Energy Literacy to Technicians

Technicians have a critical role to play in improving building performance to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This session will examine how students and technicians can better understand this role and its impact on daily routines and long-term sustainability goals.

1:00 to 2:00 pm

Why Real Estate Companies Make Energy Efficiency & Sustainability a Core Part of their Business Strategy

Moderated by industry leader and subject matter expert Carlos Santamaria – Principal, Optimal Building, this panel discussion will look within the “Why” certain corporate commercial real estate leaders decide that Voluntary Energy Efficiency & Sustainability investments and actions are necessary with their organization. The panel discussion will involve national & international commercial real estate company leaders who are responsible for proactive, voluntary energy efficiency commitments and investments throughout their entire portfolios. Reducing carbon, energy and transforming their properties into “High Performing Building Operations” is a choice and can be replicated by other companies and organizations small and large. We will discuss and show you how this Roadmap to High Efficiency Building Operations can be started at your building, facility and or organization.

Thursday, Jan 6

8:20 to 9:00 am

Connecting Communities with Grid Interactive Buildings and Integrated Distributed Energy Resources

As renewable energy supply continues to grow and create a cleaner power grid, we see new challenges in managing electricity supply emerge, and a role for buildings and distributed energy resources to play offering demand flexibility to mitigate variable power conditions. Connected Communities is a $61M multi year program by the U.S. Dept of Energy demonstrating coordinated controls strategies across multiple buildings and DERs to provide grid services while benefiting customers and providers. Highlights will be shared, including LBNL's role as National Coordinator, researching and developing resources to allow the technologies, controls, programs and business models to scale.

9:00 to 9:15 am


9:15 to 9:35 am

Cool Retrofits for Homes: Top Strategies to Save Energy, Improve Comfort, and Boost Resilience to Extreme Heat

Many homes are neither designed nor equipped to stay cool in heat waves, especially during a blackout or public safety power shutoff. Berkeley Lab researchers are investigating passive and low-energy strategies to keep residents cool and safe in extreme heat events. This talk will describe international efforts to promote resilient cooling of buildings, share recommendations to help disadvantaged communities in California’s Central Valley adapt to higher temperatures, and show how one solution can be as simple as picking up a paint brush.

9:35 to 9:55 am

Overview of the Global Cooling Efficiency Program: Improving Efficiency during the Refrigerant Transition

The phasedown of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol offers a key opportunity to simultaneously improve energy efficiency of cooling equipment globally. It is estimated that improvement of energy efficiency in tandem with the refrigerant phasedown would more than double the CO2 equivalent climate benefit of the Kigali Amendment. This talk will provide an overview of Berkeley Lab's Global Cooling Efficiency Program aimed at maximizing cost, energy and climate benefits of improving cooling equipment energy efficiency affordably.

9:55 to 10:15 am

Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems -- Changing the Face of Heat Pumps

Probably the one segment of the HVACR industry that has undergone the greatest rate of technological advancement over the last 20 years has been heat pumps. In this brief session, we will discuss how inverter technology has taken the heat pumps of our father's generation and transformed them into dynamic, highly-efficient and effective systems with load-matching capabilities. From domestic water heating to in-floor and in-wall radiant heating, to forced air heating and cooling applications, the heat pump has taken its place as the go-to technology. Topics covered in this session include: How inverters work, what makes heat pumps so efficient, and how the inverter enhances heat pump system performance and broadens its effective operating range.

10:15 to 10:30 am


10:30 to 11:00 am

Paths to Residential Decarbonization

We are currently facing the biggest challenge in residential construction there has ever been – the need to decarbonize our home energy consumption. Using cost breakdowns and energy/CO2 savings estimates from over 1,700 energy retrofit projects and the results of an industry survey, this session will provide insights on paths to effective home decarbonization.

11:00 to 11:30 am

Applications of Phase Change Material (PCM) -Integrated Hybrid HVAC Systems in Commercial Buildings

Grid-interactive HVAC and HW systems, with integrated active thermal energy storage, are one potential solution that can enable electrification of heating and DHW; advance grid-interactive efficient building systems; support broader use of renewables; improve grid and building resilience by reducing peak HVAC loads by over 50% and reduce energy costs & emissions. LBNL has developed the software tools needed to design, evaluate and develop controls for these complex systems, and has developed and is currently building two physical demonstrations. The first of these is a shovel-ready prototype ready for field deployment, and the second is currently being deployed in a residential home, in the heating dominated climate of Massachusetts.

11:30 to 12:15 pm

Ecoblock: A New Model for Multi-customer Microgrids

In this presentation, Drs. Therese Peffer and Sascha von Meier will describe a first-of-its-kind retrofit residential microgrid to span a city block. Funded by the California Energy Commission, the EcoBlock project combines energy and water efficiency retrofits and electrification with community solar power and storage to address the triple challenges of climate, resilience and equity.

12:15 to 12:30 pm


12:30 pm to 1:15 pm

Promoting Diversity in the Buildings Workforce (panel discussion)

As traditionally male-dominated fields, building construction and operations continue to be underrepresented by women and ethnic minorities. In this session, we will look at the current labor demographics of HVACR and related industries as well as strategies for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion.

1:15 to 2:15 pm

Continuous Educational Program Improvement & Opportunities for Resource Development

Lovell will assist colleges with an overview of building technician educational and funding resources to enhance classroom pedagogy, program development, and student performance.

Friday, Jan 7

8:15 to 9:15 am

Commissioning Perspective to Persistence in Operations

The commissioning process has addressed a need in delivering more functional and operable buildings. Buildings and systems are becoming more complex. Tremendous commitments are being made to deliver energy to buildings from more renewable sources and make buildings more sustainable. More tools are available to facility managers and operations to run their building as efficiently as possible. Our industry needs to focus on operating our buildings effectively, more efficiently and more persistently. Metrics, motivations and incentives need to be developed to focus on performance persistence in buildings.

9:15 to 9:30 am


9:30 to 10:15 am

Data Analytics for Smart Buildings: What’s in Your Toolbox?

Building technicians are being faced with ever-increasing goals for energy & cost savings, while building mechanical systems become more complex, and building occupants demand a comfortable working environment. Taking a data-driven approach to managing these three challenges makes sense, but requires a shift in working practices and selection of the right tools.
In this presentation, you will learn about the benefits of building commissioning and the array of building data analytics tools available to building technicians (for both large and small buildings). Through success story highlights and reference to industry guidance, attendees will gain a range of resources to help them justify, select, and successfully implement building data analytics.

10:15 to 11:00 am

Improving Scalable Solutions for Fault Detection and Controls in Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings are now expected to have more dynamic operations, in order to react to unexpected weather (storms, wildfires, extreme heat waves) and exceptional events (COVID-19). Building managers and contractors are asked to achieve these goals with increasingly tight budgets and a shrinking workforce. For this reason, the building industry is ripe for novel and disruptive approaches. This talk describes new research and industry efforts to bring these new technologies to market, including two new ASHRAE standards: 223p (Semantic Interoperability) and 231p (Control Language Digitization). These technologies have the potential to rapidly scale up controls and analytics to thousands of buildings and are going to be essential to understand for the next generation of building engineers and technicians.

11:00 to 11:15 am


11:15 to 12:15 pm

Making Data Actionable for Building Operations (Panel discussion)

As humans, we're told to get an annual checkup by our doctor, but how often do we give our buildings a checkup? What would the exam look like? What kind of tests would we run? What if we could collect the test data over time instead of just on the day of the exam? The collection and analysis of this information--commonly referred to as Building Data Analytics--are realistically attainable and incredibly useful! This panel will examine 1) some of the processes and implementation of Building Data Analytics, 2) what this data can tell us about a building, and 3) how we can use it to teach our technicians to better run and repair their facilities.

12:15 to 12:30 pm


12:30 to 1:30 pm

Integrating Building Automation Systems into Technician Education: Updates from Community Colleges

Colleges from BEST's network and beyond will convene to share ideas and recommendations from various BAS programs. Attendees from industry are also welcome to join and help educators understand current workforce needs.

1:30 to 2:15 pm

Wrap-up & Announcements

Department of Energy Internships for Faculty and Students, 1:35-1:45 pm

Event Partners

This event is endorsed by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers). 

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