Top Ten 2018 Executive Summary Overview

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. This list covers a broad range of technologies spanning both the residential and commercial sectors, including windows, envelope, sensors and controls, lighting, and HVAC. Each technology has been weighted using a structured methodology to determine its energy saving potential, technical and financial characteristics, as well as co-benefit characteristics. The Top Tens Task Group was established in 2013 and is managed through the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). Members include Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. The objective of the task group is to improve energy efficiency globally through better exchange of information about technologies and practices. Members of the task group are developing domestic and international Top Tens lists, with related case studies, to provide practical information for technology users. These will have broad international relevance and provide a range of comparative case studies in different national contexts. Access the Executive Summary Report in PDF format here.



  1. Occupant responsive lighting: Lighting systems including sensors, management systems, and/or control components allow facility managers to provide high quality lighting that meet individual preferences and light needs while reducing energy demand and costs. Control methods include occupancy sensing, timer scheduling, and dimming. Total score 77.5/100
  2. Building energy management and information systems: These systems provide facility managers with the capabilities to monitor, control, adjust, and manage energy performance of various systems such as HVAC and lighting. In this study, we accounted for total project costs, including hardware, software, implementation, and personnel time. Total score 72/100
  3. Window attachments (non-adjustable): Windows are a main contributor to heating and cooling loads in U.S. buildings. Low-e storm windows, high-R window panels, switchable films, and other window attachments are able to save energy from heating, cooling, and even lighting. For this study, we differentiated between adjustable and non-adjustable window attachments, since the former depends significantly on user behavior or operation. Total score 67/100
  4. Advanced rooftop unit controls: Advanced rooftop unit (ARU) controls allow facility managers to monitor and control heating, cooling and ventilation services provided by packaged rooftop HVAC systems. Specifically, ARU controls allow regulating (e.g., remotely) the supply fan to meet ventilation demands, which allows the fan to run at lower speeds and therefore save energy. Total score 63.5/100
  5. Plug load control devices: Plug load control devices, such as a power strip, can reduce energy consumption of both residential and commercial devices through load sensing and/or timer schedule controls. Total score 63/100
  6. Dynamic solar control systems: Window shades, when used effectively, can save energy from heating, cooling, and even lighting. Shades can reduce unwanted solar heat gain in the cooling season without affecting useful solar heat gain in the heating season. Insulated shades can also reduce heat transfer through the window. Automating the operation schedule is a simple and reliable way to capture the energy savings while also meeting other needs of the user. Total score 59/100



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