A newly signed memorandum of understanding brings together ASHRAE and Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of buildings through the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy-Efficient Buildings.

ASHRAE and Penn State signed the memorandum today to pursue common objectives related to GPIC. GPIC is a 24-member consortium, being led by Penn State, which has been designated as an Energy Innovation Hub of the U.S. Department of Energy and is located at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pa. The goals of GPIC are to transform the building retrofit industry from serial fragmentation to integrated systems methods, to improve design tools, building systems, public policies, market incentives and workforce skills needed to achieve a 50 percent reduction of energy use in buildings, and to stimulate private investment and quality job creation in Greater Philadelphia and beyond.

“ASHRAE is looking forward to working closely with Penn State and other GPIC members on improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions,” Ron Jarnagin, ASHRAE president, said. “GPIC represents an exciting step forward in finding ways to increase energy efficiency. ASHRAE is happy to bring the knowledge and technical expertise of its volunteer members to the table to help create a broader knowledge of energy efficient and sustainable building practices.”

“ASHRAE brings a tremendous amount of technical knowledge and experience that will be very useful to the GPIC as we strive toward solving one of the nation's most serious energy problems by dramatically reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings. Together, we can create quality jobs in the region and boost the building industry,” Henry Foley, executive director of the GPIC and vice president for research for Penn State, said.

ASHRAE will assist in the GPIC effort in several areas, including research, education, certification, standards and guidelines and by applying the society’s Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) program to buildings at the Navy Yard. ASHRAE may also help obtain As-Designed and In-Operation bEQ ratings for buildings in Greater Philadelphia and can ensure that GPIC considers use of ASHRAE certifications to support its objectives.