Best Available Technologies in the U.S. Buildings Sector

In 2016, buildings accounted for about 40% of total U.S. energy consumption, while globally it was about one-third. There is the significant untapped potential in the buildings sector to cut its energy use. Both U.S. residential and commercial buildings could decrease their energy consumption by half just by using commercially available energy-efficienttechnologies.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to develop a Top Ten list to highlight energy savings technologies for the United States’ building sector that represent good value for money, are innovative, reliable and widely available. PNNL developed this list in collaboration with DOE under the Top Tens Task Group of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). An Executive Summary onthe Top Ten technologies for the U.S. Building Sector is available here.

Best available technologies for the U.S. building sector.

Category Technology
HVAC/Water Heating Condensing tankless water heaters
Heat pump water heaters
Advanced rooftop unit controls
Sensors and Controls Occupant responsive lighting (occupancy sensing, timer scheduling, dimming)
Building energy management and information system
Plug load control devices
Windows and Building Envelope Fixed window attachments (low-e storm windows, Hi-R window panels, switchable films)
Comprehensive attic update
Dynamic solar control systems
Lighting LED downlight luminaires

*Note that these technologies are not in rank order.

Seven participating members of IPEEC created the Top Tens task group to identify and showcase scalable energy savings solutions. These nations are Australia China, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Within the framework of Top Tens task group, these countries worked together to create a framework methodology that would allow each country to create a domestic list of energy efficient technologies and/or practices for a given sector, with the goal of broadening awareness by promoting it to businesses, policymakers, energy program administrators, and other targeted stakeholders.

This list highlights energy savings technologies for the American buildings sector that are innovative, reliable, widely available, and have good financial value. The scope of building technologies included those that affect energy demand for heating (including water), cooling, and lighting, which in sum account for more than 60% of energy demand in both commercial and residential buildings.

Case Studies

Technologies in the Top Ten list can generate multiple benefits and improve the energy performance of buildings in a cost-effective way. Below are some case studies discussing technology details and applications.

Technology brief:

High-performance HVAC (link to: )

Low-e Storm Window Attachments (

Secondary Glazing Systems (

Technology applications and case studies:

Secondary Glazing Systems (

Luminaire Level Lighting Controls Case 1 ( )

Luminaire Level Lighting Controls Case 2 ( )


In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) commissioned Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to create a domestic list for the industrial sector. Additionally, Australia, China, Japan, and the United States collaborated to create an international list of best available technologies and practices in the industrial sector.

Below are links to for more information about the project (this page will be updated periodically, so please visit again).


Full Report on Project