Conducting Field Validations of Commercial Energy Efficiency Technologies with Underserved Communities: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Underserved communities in the United States often experience the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation but enjoy few of the benefits of technological and environmental advances. The White House has addressed this inequity through the Justice40 initiative, which requires 40% of the benefits of select federal investments to be directed to underserved communities (The White House, 2022). Clean energy and energy efficiency are two highlighted investment categories, so the U.S. Department of Energy will guide implementation of the Justice40 initiative by, among other things, decreasing energy burdens, increasing parity in clean energy technology access and adoption, and increasing energy resiliency. A strategy for reaching these goals is to evaluate and validate new energy efficiency technologies in commercial buildings in underserved communities, where buildings may be older, smaller, and have deferred maintenance due to historical underinvestment. This paper assesses the proficiency of the technologies under these conditions and increases awareness of the benefits to the communities. In addition, historical redlining and past negative experiences with government and large institutions may make residents wary of participating in these field validations. Researchers, therefore, may need to spend more time building relationships and matching technologies to buildings. In this paper, we analyzed technical reports to identify common required and desired field validation building characteristics, and conducted semi-structured expert conversations to identify key stages and major themes of engaging underserved communities. Our results indicate that the benefits to both the community and energy efficiency research justify the effort. The White House. (2022). Justice40.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2023
EventEnvironmental Design Research Association Annual Conference (EDRA54) - Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 20 Jun 202323 Jun 2023


ConferenceEnvironmental Design Research Association Annual Conference (EDRA54)
CityMexico City, Mexico

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-84731


  • energy efficiency
  • energy equity
  • field validation
  • underserved communities


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