OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State University Extension Energy Program has received a grant to establish one of two regional information centers in the nation to accelerate application of proven energy efficiency technologies in buildings. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a total of $4.1 million to WSU and to the University of Central Florida to develop and implement the two regional centers.
“Our focus during our initial phase will be on energy efficiency strategies for new homes, for commercial building lighting and for public facilities such as state and local government buildings and schools,” said Todd Currier, the Extension Energy Program division manager. “Our key objective over the next 18 months is to launch the center and provide measurable benefits to both key clients and to the broader buildings sector.”
In addition to WSU’s energy program, the center team includes the Energy Division of the Idaho Department of Water Resources, the Cooperative Extension Energy and Housing Program/Cold-Climate Energy and Research Center at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and the Lighting Design Laboratory at Seattle City Light. The center will serve as an informational resource and catalyst for improvements in energy efficiency in buildings in Alaska, Idaho, Montana Oregon and Washington.
WSU’s Extension Energy Program already operates energy clearinghouses for the U.S. Department of Energy that make available information on improving energy efficiency to everyone from residential homeowners to international industrial firms. Currier says one feature of the new center will be its integration with the other information services that WSU and other team members already provide.
“WSU receives more than a thousand technical assistance requests each year from the owners, designers and occupants of buildings in the region. Our partners also handle over 1000 technical assistance contacts per year,” Currier said. “While we will continue to assist them through existing services, some calls will be appropriate for the more advanced levels of assistance available through the center.”
While the center expects to receive most of its inquiries for assistance by telephone and email, they will offer personal technical assistance and design consultation in appropriate situations.
The center team also will develop and implement a marketing and outreach strategy to reach target audiences in each of the states it will serve.