CERC BEE Drafts Groundbreaking Joint IP Agreement

February 27, 2017

U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center Building Energy Efficiency (CERC-BEE) researchers — Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI), and ICF International (ICF) from the United States and the China Academy of Building Research (CABR) from China — recently drafted CERC's first U.S.-China joint intellectual property (IP) agreement for the development of an open-source, on-line, building energy efficiency audit tool. This important achievement sets a precedent for future U.S.-China joint IP agreements under CERC.

Central to the challenge of improving building energy performance is the availability of effective benchmarking tools and adequate data transparency laws to motivate market actors to curb energy usage and encourage energy-efficiency retrofits. During first phase of CERC-BEE, researchers recognized this challenge and developed a highly effective on-line operational benchmarking tool—the China Building Energy Benchmarking Tool.

Building on the tool's success, CERC-BEE is now developing a free, open-source, on-line audit tool to address the lack of consistent and cost-effective approaches to undertake post-benchmark audits at scale. This auditing software tool will be based on JCI's LEAN Energy Analytic Tool and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Inverse Modeling Toolkit. The aim is to support up-front assessment of retrofit opportunities and monitoring and verification (M&V) of energy and cost reductions in buildings, facilitating the business case for energy efficiency investments.

To enable CERC researchers from United States and China to confidently and safely bring forward their best ideas and most innovative thinking, CERC-BEE partners drafted this groundbreaking joint IP agreement. The agreement not only sets forth the conditions and terms for the protection of background IP and for the allocation of project IP, but also ensures that IP is protected under prevailing laws of both countries. A first of its kind, this agreement establishes a platform for researchers to openly collaborate and exchange knowledge on the research and development of this particular project, accelerating progress and driving breakthroughs.

This project-level, IP agreement is enshrined within CERC's overarching IP framework, which provides a strong foundational basis for enhanced joint collaboration between the United States and China.

Learn more about CERC's IP framework.

Learn more about CERC BEE's research.