CRADA Supports National Lab Partnerships

January 26, 2024

The Upshot

CEL has won two CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) awards in conjunction with two national laboratories.

CEL Collaborates with National Leaders through CRADA Agreements

In partnership with two national laboratories, CEL has won two CRADA Agreements from the U.S. Department of Energy. The first CRADA is for a partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), which specializes in utilities. The second is in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), a specialist in building sciences.

PNNL and LBNL represent the nation's premier experts in building energy usage and management. These CRADAs allow CEL to enhance, co-develop and bring to market the work of the world's greatest scientific minds. These mutually beneficial relationships give CEL access to the labs' expertise and give the labs the ability to understand the application of their work in field trials and at scale.


Machine learning (ML) algorithms like CEL's need to teach themselves physics so they can make accurate predictions that lead to savings. The goal of this partnership is to speed up the rate at which ML can learn building dynamics and determine methods for transferring this knowledge. This collaboration will allow CEL to validate a wider variety of ML frameworks and test them in buildings with complex systems and thermal dynamics. This means we can find solutions for a wider diversity of commercial buildings than what we currently offer. This solution is tailored to schools and other community buildings and will be validated at CEL’s customer sites beginning in winter of 2024. It addresses the underserved medium-sized commercial buildings market and will provide a solution that enables the participation of educational buildings in grid response programs.


CEL and LBNL jointly created an innovative technology that we piloted in successful field demonstrations. (In fact, this was the first time advanced building controls for load flexibility were demonstrated in the K-12 market!) Field tests showed a 24% reduction in total peak power and a 30% reduction in HVAC peak power. Our technology also shifted 16% of the cooling load from an on-peak price period to a low price period. These demonstrations allowed us to improve on the technology. With this CRADA, we are now expanding the new-and-improved trial to 10 entire campuses. We hope to serve 20 full campuses by the end of this year.

Check out the documents in the sidebar for more information on the collaboration with LBNL!

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