renewable energy technologies and city

Event Recap: 2022 BEST Annual Institute

Eunice Chung

Nearly 200 academics, policymakers, and industry practitioners attended the 2022 Annual Institute, the premier event on sustainability, energy efficiency, and high-performance building operations. Co-hosted by the Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Center and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), the three-day virtual conference was held from January 5-7 and centered on the theme, “Building Technician Education in a Time of Challenges and Innovation.”

This year’s agenda boasted a robust lineup of speakers, including those from the California Energy Commission, Pennsylvania State University, Metropolitan Community College, U.S. Department of Energy, LBNL, and UC Berkeley. Presentation topics ranged from strategies for decarbonization, sustainability, and resilient cooling to innovations in energy efficiency and building automation. 

Zoom meeting in mosaic view, with Drs. Therese Peffer, Sascha von Meier, and Peter Crabtree
EcoBlock Project Manager Dr. Therese Peffer and PI Dr. Alexandra “Sascha” von Meier discuss the Oakland EcoBlock project with BEST Center PI Peter Crabtree

The Oakland EcoBlock team also participated in the Annual Institute. Principal Investigator (PI) and Energy team co-lead Dr. Alexandra “Sascha” von Meier and Project Manager Dr. Therese Peffer shared the latest updates on the project as it approaches construction. While Sascha described the technical design of the community microgrid, Therese addressed the interdisciplinary nature of EcoBlock and the challenges of navigating diverse stakeholder interests.  

The Annual Institute is geared towards college educators and students; high school physics, technical education, and engineering teachers; building engineers, technicians, and facilities managers; design and construction professionals; and others aspiring to improve the knowledge and practice of operating healthy buildings. Despite being online, this year’s virtual platform offered many opportunities for technical research demonstrations, interactive discussion, and professional networking and training.  One attendee noted, “There are many reasons my students will benefit from the BEST workshop. The information that I received and the connections that I have made will have a direct impact on their education and employment opportunities.”

The 2022 Annual Institute was sponsored by Building Operator Certification (BOC), the HVAC Excellence/ESCO Group, and Contemporary Controls and endorsed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). View all presentations and visit the virtual booths via the 2022 Annual Institute event page. Videos will be made available on the BEST Center’s website and YouTube channel after February 7, 2022.

Cover image credit: Siemens Smart Infrastructure

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