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October 17, 2016

Energetic Announcement

Intelligent Workplace Serves as Backdrop for Launch of Energy Loan Program

An intelligent space to announce an 
innovative program.

That’s why the School of Architecture’s Robert L. Preger Intelligent Workplace served as the space where Rob McCord, Pennsylvania’s state treasurer, announced a new program to help homeowners find lower-cost loans for home energy-efficiency improvements. The program — Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL) — is an innovative financing platform that creates a national secondary market for low-cost residential energy-upgrade loan funding.

The Intelligent Workplace, perched atop Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall and flooded with natural light, is a field laboratory for energy-efficiency technologies — a building McCord called “inspiring.”

McCord likened WHEEL’s goals to those of the School of Architecture, which he said “has built a brand as the best R&D institution in the country — possibly the world — for sustainable buildings.”

WHEEL is the product of a collaboration between national leaders in finance and energy, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, Citigroup, Renewable Funding, the Energy Programs Consortium, the National Association 
of State Energy Officials and the 
U.S. Department of Energy. The Energy, Ford, Rockefeller, Surdna and William Penn foundations provided key financial support. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has signed on as a WHEEL charter member.

Steve Lee, head of CMU’s School of Architecture, called the Intelligent Workplace a “living and lived-in laboratory” and described its four decades of groundbreaking energy research. It is home to the Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics (CBPD), which has made advances in user comfort and satisfaction, organizational flexibility, technological adaptability, and energy and environmental effectiveness.

The CBPD finds, tests and 
integrates the world’s best energy-saving products, developing conservation guidelines and demonstrating them through a range of commercial and residential projects. Many of the faculty members are among the more than 100 CMU professors and researchers who are part of the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

Invoking the Intelligent Workplace’s inventiveness and commitment, McCord urged other state governments to follow WHEEL’s lead and “embrace financial innovation in a way that actually serves people, much in the way that this building does.”

By: Michelle Bard,