The U.S. - China Clean Energy Research Center, Building Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) is a ten-year initiative to support leading scientists from the U.S. and China in collaborative research to accelerate the development and deployment of advanced building technologies for the benefit of both countries.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)  and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology lead the initiative, which is managed by Berkeley Lab's China Energy Group in the U.S., and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Center for Science and Technology of Construction in China.

DOE's annual contribution to the program is $2.5 million and is matched by the Chinese government. U.S. and Chinese partners contribute additionally at a rate of $4 for every $1 invested by DOE. As of 2016, the program has launched 12 new products; filed 12 patent applications; influenced nearly 30 standards, codes, and policies; and developed 13 new copyrighted software tools to advance building performance. 

With applications that will be of use worldwide, we are conducting research and development in five key areas, shown below.. Scientists are working in the areas of advanced manufacturing; grid-interactive efficient buildings and devices, such as direct current (DC) power and model predictive controls; indoor environmental quality; and building analytics software. As new construction proceeds around the globe, collaborative research efforts are helping to lock in the tremendous potential energy and cost savings for the long term, while increasing indoor comfort and reducing stress on the electric grid.

Building Codes & Energy Standards

 Building codes in China are developed by code compilation committees, increasingly with industry involvement. They undergo public review and approval before adoption by China's Ministry of Housing and Urban and Rural Development.

DOE-2-logographic of Energy Plus logoWe worked with China to develop a windows rating and labeling programWe provide training in the use of DOE-2 and other building energy simulation software as well as assistance in the drafting and implementation of China's building energy standards. The first residential code was for the Heating Zone in 1996. We helped develop residential energy standards for the Hot Summer Cold Winter region in 2001 and the Hot Summer Warm Winter region in 2004. We have also supported pilot efforts in Shanghai and four cities in South China to implement building energy codes.

More recently, we worked with China to develop a pilot windows rating and labeling program in the southern city of Guangzhou, drawing from the U.S. National Fenestration Rating Council. And to support commercial building retrofits, we developed a software tool for the quick analysis of retrofit savings and cost-effectiveness. The China Energy Group also works on distributed building renewable energy applications and helps China develop its goals for net zero energy (NZE) buildings in the future.



It is estimated that there are hundreds of billions of untapped, cost-effective energy-efficient building upgrade opportunities worldwide, yet few structures exist in the market today for financial institutions to deploy capital for energy-efficient buildings. Berkeley Lab is working to uncover market and technical barriers to energy-efficiency financing; building financial institution capacity on advanced building technologies that represent business and financial opportunities; developing and piloting innovative energy-efficiency financial products; and analyzing data on the performance of energy-efficiency financial products in order to continue to improve product performance and market uptake.

District Energy System and Planning

We are developing a district energy planning tool for campus and small district scale energy planning to benefit both the United States and China. The tool integrates heating, cooling, and electric loads with low energy resources. It calculates the most suitable technologies for district solutions. Equipment cost and heating and cooling pipelines are considered to help users optimize the topology of the system and find the best technological solutions for its community. 

U.S. and China Green Buildings Center

We have collaborated with the China Green Building Council (GBC) to establish a U.S.-China Green Building Center. The Center's mission is to accelerate high performance green building research and development in the U.S. and China. Several research topics have been established in the center jointly by Berkeley Lab and the GBC. The current ongoing research includes comparison of U.S. and China green district and cities best practices and standards.


Building Technology and Urban Systems (BTUS) at Berkeley Lab provides cutting-edge research for the building industry in innovative and expansive ways. The China Energy Group works closely and collaboratively with BTUS in buildings energy-efficiency research. Below are links to various websites that showcase these capabilities:

  • For buildings-related tools please visit: /tools-guidebooks
  • Benchmarking and data can be used to make buildings more energy-efficient:
  • Building Envelope: Cool roofs, high-efficiency shading and other tools for saving energy:
  • Building Equipment: Advanced algorithms and control strategies for lighting, cooling and other systems
  • Renewable Energy Utilization: Technologies that can help integrate distributed energy sources
  • Whole Buildings: Real-time strategies for cost and peak load reduction: and
  • Policy & Market Promotion: Policy recommendations to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and green buildings