Technology and System Specifications

Better Buildings Alliance (BBA) Project Teams develop specifications that you can customize and use to obtain quotes for high-efficiency products and services. Collective BBA support of these product and performance specifications demonstrates a market need to manufacturers and leads to greater product availability, higher quality, and more competitive pricing.

The Federal Energy Management Program and Energy Star also offer useful procurement resources for many products not covered here.

Available Technology Specifications

The following technology specifications are available:

  • Wireless Meter Challenge

    The wireless meter challenge has been launched to catalyze the development of low cost metering solutions. Meters are an integral component of energy reduction in commercial buildings as they provide access to real time granular energy use data, allowing decision makers to make informed and immediate changes to their energy consuming building systems. Questions on this specification should be sent to wireless.meter@ee.doe.gov. Learn more about the Wireless Meter Challenge.

  • High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge

    Rooftop units (RTUs) are used in nearly half of all cooling conditioned commercial floor space in the United States. RTUs built according to the specification are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50% compared to the current ASHRAE 90.1 standard, depending on location and facility type. Nationwide, if all 10-20 ton commercial units were replaced with units built to this specification, businesses would save about $1 billion each year in energy costs. DOE also developed an RTU Comparison Calculator so you can easily compare the energy and financial benefits of high-efficiency units to standard equipment. Questions on this specification should be sent to BBA@ee.doe.gov. Learn more about the High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge.

  • BBA LED Site (Parking Lot) Lighting Specification

    Most parking lots are illuminated by older high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting technology without any energy-saving controls. New light-emitting diode (LED) technology with controls can cut parking lot lighting energy bills by 40% or more while delivering additional benefits including long life, reduced maintenance costs, and improved lighting uniformity. Nationwide, if all parking lots switched to high-efficiency lighting that meets the requirements of the specification, we could save an estimated 40 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually. Questions on this specification should be sent to BBAlliance@pnnl.gov. Learn more about the LED parking lot lighting specification.

  • BBA High-Efficiency Parking Structure Lighting Specification

    Parking structures or garages are often lighted by older HID lighting technology without any energy-saving controls. The latest high-efficiency alternatives with energy-saving controls—including fluorescent, induction, and LED options—can save building owners over 40% on their parking lot lighting bills compared to typical code while delivering additional benefits, like better-lighted spaces. Additional energy savings are possible from the use of lighting controls and daylighting. Nationwide, if all parking structures switched today to high-efficiency lighting that met the requirements of the specification, businesses could save an estimated 36 TWh annually. Questions on this specification should be sent to BBAlliance@pnnl.gov. Learn more about the parking structure lighting specification.

  • BBA LED Refrigerated Display Case Lighting Specification

    The Refrigerated Display Case specification delivers approximately 50% energy savings compared to a typical display case lighting code. If all retail refrigerated display cases switched to LED systems today, 2.1 TWh of electricity could be saved annually. Questions on this specification should be sent to BBAlliance@pnnl.gov. Learn more about the LED refrigerated case lighting specification.

  • BBA High-Efficiency Troffer (1'x4', 2'x2', 2'x4') Lighting Specification

    Fifty percent of all commercial fluorescent lighting fixtures are recessed troffers in 1'x4', 2'x2', 2'x4' configurations, in operation for more than 10 hours a day on average and collectively consuming more than 87 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. Building owners who use the high-efficiency troffer specification can save 15–45% on their lighting energy costs on a one-for-one basis and up to 75% with the use of controls. If all troffers were replaced to BBA specification compliance troffers, 26 TWh of electricity could be saved annually. Questions on this specification should be sent to BBAlliance@pnnl.gov. Learn more about the troffer lighting specification.

  • Commercial Heat Pump Water Heater Specification

    The water heater specification can reduce water heating energy use by 70% compared to traditional electric storage water heaters.

  • Gas Heater Specification

    Gas heaters built according to the specification can reduce heating energy use by over 10%, compared to typical units.

  • Laboratory Fume Hood Specification

    A single fume hood in a typical lab can use more than 10,000 kWh per year, Replacing it with a fume hood that meets the specification could save up to 50,000 kWh of energy and $5,000 over 5 years, while also reducing the space conditioning energy loads.

  • Low Voltage Distribution Transformer Specification

    Distribution transformers are an often-overlooked building energy load, but they can be responsible for a significant amount of energy use: collectively estimated to consume over 20 TWh per year. The distribution transformer specification can reduce energy use by over 15% compared to typical transformers. In addition, the specification acknowledges that many commercial buildings have low loading profiles and provides an optional design path to save additional energy in these buildings.

Under Development

DOE is currently accepting feedback on the following draft specifications. Send questions and comments to BBA@ee.doe.gov.

Technology Demonstrations

Demonstrations of technologies meeting BBA specifications in actual commercial buildings provide real-world examples of achievable performance and energy savings. The DOE works with site hosts, including BBA members, and suppliers to install, monitor, and assess the technologies. For more information on the demonstration work, please refer to the technology demonstration page.