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Low-Energy Buildings Software
Small Commercial Buildings Program
Goals of the Program

SBIC’s Small Commercial Buildings program was developed to help architects, engineers, builders, and their clients create energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive small and medium-sized commercial, institutional, and residential buildings. Our publications, resources, and training programs promote the notion of building designers applying energy-efficient strategies (EES) early in the design process by combining passive solar design techniques, such as daylighting and shading, and conventional energy-saving measures, such as insulation and high-efficiency lights. The goal of the program is to educate thousands of architects, engineers, building designers, academics, and students in the United States to apply these approaches as part of the normal design process.

With the inception of the Designing Low-Energy Buildings with Energy-10 program, SBIC for the first time stepped beyond a focus on passive solar design techniques for homes and into the realm of addressing the unique challenges faced in designing climate-responsive, small commercial (internal load dominated) buildings. Since 1996 SBIC has been the only distributor of the Energy-10 software, a powerful design tool that analyzes—and illustrates—the energy and cost savings that can be achieved through more than a dozen sustainable design strategies. The software is designed to help architects and building professionals generate data on a building’s energy efficiency strategies quickly and easily, with minimal upfront information. Hourly energy simulations help the designer quantify, assess, and clearly depict the benefits of daylighting, passive solar heating, natural ventilation, well-insulated envelopes, better windows, lighting systems, mechanical equipment, and more.

SBIC developed a companion Designing Low-Energy Buildings with Energy-10 curriculum to give designers the opportunity to participate in discussions about integrated design practices, as well as receive hands-on Energy-10 instruction. The workshop covers 16 energy efficiency strategies that Energy-10 users need to understand in order to use the software effectively. They are:

Daylighting Glazing Shading Energy-efficient lighting Lighting controls Insulation Air leakage control Thermal mass Passive solar heating

Natural ventilation

Economizer cycle

Exhaust air heat recovery

High-efficiency HVAC


Evaporative cooling controls

Solar water heating

Each EES discussion during the workshop gives tips on its proper use. However, it is important to appreciate that these energy efficiency strategies lose much of their effectiveness when applied in isolation. A sustainable building achieves its superior performance through the integrated interaction of the building envelope, HVAC, and lighting decisions. For instance, in a daylit, passive solar building, low-e glass with high daylight transmittance and a low shading coefficient should be considered in conjunction with daylight dimming controls that modulate electronic ballasts.

By applying EES to their projects and analyzing their impact with Energy-10, participants are able to understand how those buildings will perform early in the design process.

The Designing Low-Energy Buildings with Energy-10 curriculum is intended to serve the following audiences:

Architects and engineers who design commercial, institutional, and residential buildings

Contractors who build them

Suppliers who stock and sell energy efficiency components

Building owners and managers who pay for and operate them

Lenders who make financing available

Public officials who write energy codes governing them

Utilities who power them

SBIC uses a team of certified Designing Low-Energy Buildings with Energy-10 instructors/trainers. Since 1997 SBIC has successfully developed over a hundred workshops and seminars based on the Designing Low-Energy Buildings with Energy-10 curriculum.

A sample Designing Low-Energy Buildings with Energy-10 two-day workshop agenda and trainers’ syllabus, along with the Energy-10 hands-on workshop exercises are provided here. Contact Doug Schroeder at DSchroeder@SBICouncil.org to arrange for a workshop in your locality.

GoodCents® Energy Efficiency Programs
GoodCents Home®

This nationally recognized new home construction program can be tailored to achieve the energy efficiency and marketing goals of the utility.

Prescriptive measures can be developed to guide the builder/developer toward efficiency and quality. In addition, the home must be inspected during construction and certified at completion to confirm that critical features were installed properly, according to design. Specific requirements are designed to reflect local weather and climate conditions, and exceed all local, national and federal guidelines.

GoodCents training programs offer the utility and the building community access to building science professionals to ensure that long-term quality is delivered to your utility customers.

The GoodCents home means greater value, increased comfort, and reduced energy bills for the homeowner. Buyers can often qualify for a larger mortgage, and energy savings offset some or all of the added mortgage cost.

For the builder and the real estate agent, the program translates into increased profits, quicker sales and increased customer satisfaction.

4GoodCents Manufactured Home

Manufactured homes can be ordered with improved levels of insulation and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. These upgrades improve overall performance just as they do for site-built homes, resulting in similar energy savings for the utility and the customer.

4GoodCents Home Energy Audits

Building energy audits identify energy-related issues and opportunities for improvement. In a GoodCents program, an experienced professional will inspect your customer’s home, heating and cooling equipment, air distribution (duct) systems, water heaters and other appliances. The utility customer will receive an evaluation and specific recommendations for improving the overall comfort and energy performance of the home. Finally, the program we design with you may include referral to qualified contractors in the customer’s area who can complete the appropriate upgrades.

4GoodCents Dealer Referral and Quality Contractor Program

Energy efficient building and home improvement work requires special skills and attention to detail. Strict design guidelines and installation practices must be followed. GoodCents offers participating utilities an HVAC dealer/contractor network management program to identify and recruit dealers and contractors, and refer them to utility customers.

The program recruits qualified and competent contractors who agree to comply with minimum participation criteria, observe ethical business practices, and cooperate with periodic quality control inspections.

Program Support Services

To fully support our Energy Efficiency Programs, GoodCents provides a full range of professional program services, including program design, marketing, customer recruitment, program evaluation, and long-term customer care — a total turnkey business solution.


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