What is Building America and the Building America Retrofit Alliance?

By Stacy Hunt and Craig Savage

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE’s) Building America program is engineering the American home for energy performance, durability, quality, affordability and comfort. 


Building America is an industry-driven, cost-shared research program working with national laboratories and building-science research teams to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced-building energy technologies and practices in new and existing homes. The program works closely with industry partners to develop innovative, real-world solutions that achieve significant energy and cost savings for homeowners and builders.


Building America acts as a national residential test bed where different building system options are evaluated, designed, built, retrofitted and vetted to ensure requirements for energy efficiency, quality, sustainability, risk mitigation and comfort are met. Research is conducted on individual measures and systems, test houses and community-scale housing to validate the safety, reliability, cost-effectiveness and marketability of technologies when integrated into existing and new homes.


The BARA team is the only Building America team almost exclusively focused on working with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Building America program, creating a bridge between research results and the market. The team formed in early 2010 because of the team’s great complementary strengths, including multimedia production, communications process and material development, outreach and partnership development capabilities, along with a strong understanding of energy efficiency and building science. The BARA team works together on a variety of projects, including the CEH. BARA is comprised of Building Media, a provider of online training programs for the construction industry; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; Confluence Communications, a company that serves businesses involved in energy-efficient and environmental construction; and Easley and Associates, a building-science consulting firm. The remodeling team for this project was selected because of its commitment to energy efficiency and quality, and the project was proposed to the Building America program because of its ideal location near the forthcoming IBS and the opportunity to interject energy efficiency into a traditional remodeling project.


Stacy Hunt is principal with Confluence Communications and a member of the BARA team. She can be reached at (406) 550-9397 or stacy@confluencec.com. Craig Savage is co-president of Building Media Inc. and a member of the BARA team. He can be reached at (805) 963-4353 or csavage@buildingmedia.com.