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Building Technologies

Integrating Models for Better Building Efficiency

Company Name: Lucid
Program Office: Building Technologies
Location: Oakland, CA
Award Amount ($): $200,000
Project Term: 12 months
Project Status: Active
Participating Lab(s): Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


From heating to cooling to lighting, commercial and residential buildings consume 47 percent of all energy used in the United States. Increasingly, building operators are using software to track and manage their energy and resource use, which can deliver useful insights that help them save energy. For instance, tracking software can reveal if tenants are unnecessarily leaving equipment on overnight or over long weekends, or if heating and cooling systems are operating inefficiently. Managers can also use software to predict how efficiency measures, such as water heating retrofits or new lighting systems, might affect a building's overall energy use. But these systems face a few limits, including gaps in historic data as well as a bias toward looking at energy use from a business-as-usual baseline.

Integrating physics-based models into these systems can help managers accurately assess how replacing HVAC systems, insulation and other retrofits can boost building performance and save energy. Building better statistical capabilities can also help managers assess how their retrofits are performing against expectations, ensuring that they get the most out of their investments. Naturally, companies working in this field also need to ensure that they can deliver data to building managers through well-designed, user-centric software that translates information into actionable recommendations.

Lucid's software platform already helps organizations reduce their energy and resource use by 15 to 30 percent. The company believes it is well positioned to develop and integrate new capabilities based on Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory data and analysis, and deliver even greater savings.


Lucid's data and analytics platform is already used in more than 11,000 buildings. Integrating the Lucid platform with additional specialized analytics and databases from the National Labs will deliver immediate benefits to building operators, while helping improve statistical modeling techniques used in building management software. Lucid hopes to make these insights available to commercial building owners and operators, architecture firms, energy service companies and other partners. Doing so can provide easy, at-scale access to more accurate modeling and benchmarking techniques, which helps owners and operators make better decisions about capital spending, efficiency initiatives and more.


Intelligent software applications can reduce utility bills for building owners and operators, and software can help managers ensure that efficiency investments are performing as expected. Businesses that save money on energy can use those savings to make investments in other parts of their operations.

Increasing building efficiency lowers electricity demand, allowing utilities to burn fewer fossil fuels, especially during peak demand times. This lowers pollutants, including heat-trapping emissions. Efficiency investments can also spare water use.

When buildings invest in efficiency, utilities are better able to manage and meet electricity demand, reducing the risk of brownouts and blackouts and ensuring greater predictability and reliability for the grid.

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