EEI Laboratories

Our laboratories are as varied, agile and specialized as the problems they are used to solve. These include full-scale laboratories for research and development, benchmarking, prototyping, and product testing on a wide array of technologies including lighting and controls, HVAC, water systems, and advanced research in heat-exchanger design. 

To further realize the work done within our main laboratories, we have a 1,900 square foot home designed as a real-world test bed of new and emerging technologies.

CLTC Lighting Labs

The California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) includes full-scale laboratories for research and development, prototyping, and product testing. Many of CLTC’s affiliates and partners conduct early testing at CLTC, prior to testing at a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. This allows them to bring better solutions to market faster. Many of the patented sensors, controls, algorithms, luminaires, and lighting system technologies that originated in CLTC’s labs are now transforming lighting energy use in California, across the U.S., and beyond. CLTC also conducts independent product testing and market research, providing accurate data on the state of the lighting market to regulators and end-users.

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The Western Cooling Efficiency Center’s (WCEC) environmental control chamber is specifically designed to test unitary air conditioners in Davis, California. The primary focus of the laboratory consists of controlling two conditioned chambers, one that is 10.5 feet wide, 15 feet long, and 8 feet tall; and a second that is 7 feet wide, 10 feet long, and 8 feet tall. The larger chamber is designed to produce outdoor air conditions and the smaller chamber is designed to produce indoor air conditions.

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High Temperature Heat Exchange Lab

The Solar/Supercritical CO2 Thermal and Energy Enhancement Laboratory (STEEL) was developed to further research in advanced heat exchangers for a variety of applications such as solar power generation, thermal desalination, waste heat utilization, and solar fuels.

The STEEL facility is equipped with a 7-m parabolic solar dish that is capable of concentrating sunlight by nearly 1000 times at the focal area. The facility is also home to a high pressure (200 bar), high temperature (up to 700 C) supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) flow loop. The combination of the parabolic dish and the sCO2 loop give the UC Davis STEEL lab a unique set of capabilities in the area of high temperature and high pressure heat transfer research, along with heat exchanger technology development.

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The Smart Home

The EEI Smart Home is a research platform designed to be easily reconfigured to test your new energy efficient technologies including HVAC, EVs, energy storage, lighting, controls, and other appliances.

General Specifications

  • Construction: slab foundation, wood framing
  • Floor Area: 1,944 sq. ft.
  • Annex Floor Area: 190 sq. ft
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Walls: 9.25” double-stud walls with cellulose insulation
  • Windows: Triple-pane
  • PV: 9.5kW
  • Garage: 2-car, HEMS Ready

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Industrial Decarbonization Solutions Hub

Convenes industry, utilities, regulators, and researchers to reduce industrial GHG emissions and increase resiliency and load flexibility.

The Industrial Decarbonization Solutions Hub develops decarbonization roadmaps for industry that link efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency.

April 2022 held the first Industrial Decarbonization Solutions Symposium with over 100 attendees from California, US and abroad.

Materials Decarbonization and Sustainability Program

Advancing the development and use of sustainable low-carbon materials such as cement and steel.

Using a life-cycle approach considering extraction, manufacturing, use, function and end-of-life management to comprehensively address sustainability and functional requirements.

The Materials Decarbonization and Sustainability Program is headed by Professor Sabbie Miller of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis.
Visit her site.

Software Resource and Applications

Industrial Decarbonization

Industry is responsible for approximately one-third of all energy consumption in the United States, more than any other sector of the economy. By evaluating energy efficiency opportunities in conjunction with demand side management opportunities, industry can minimize both cost and carbon emissions while also improving reliability and sustainability of production. While there are many opportunities for increased efficiency in industrial operations, UC Davis is well positioned to work with academic and industry partners to research, identify, develop and demonstrate promising technologies and solutions that improve industrial processes, in particular those that involve heating, cooling, and treating liquids and gases.

The Energy and Efficiency Institute (EEI) is seeking to advance an Industrial Energy Efficiency Initiative. This effort seeks to leverage university research and expertise in HVAC and building systems, water-energy engineering, food and beverage processing (specifically in wineries, breweries, dairies, and specialty products), data analytics, chemistry, and a range of engineering disciplines. EEI will engage strategic partners to advance technologies and best practices. Targeted partners will include, among others:

  • Leading wineries, breweries, and dairies
  • Food Processing Associations and Companies
  • Petroleum Industry, Natural Gas companies, Biorefineries
  • Utilities and Additional universities


Industrial Energy Efficiency Symposium (July 2019)

On July 31, UC Davis hosted a 1-day symposium on Industrial Energy Efficiency, which convened over 60 people, including participants from UC Davis and University of Houston, representatives from regulatory agencies, utilities, the environmental community, and relevant industry sectors. Read the Key TakeAways.

Solar Thermal Symposium (November 2019)

On November 15, UC Davis and UC Merced hosted a 1-day symposium on to identify solar thermal driven solutions for medium and high temperature applications. The event brought together representatives from R&D agencies, research institutions, and industry. Read a Summary of the Symposium and Key TakeAways.


For more information, please contact Kelly Kissock.

Rural Electric Cooperatives

Electric cooperatives serve over 40 million consumers in the United States and have a rich history. The Institute is working with Dr. Keith Taylor, an expert on cooperatives in UC Davis’ Community Regional Development department, to examine how local communities can leverage the institutional structure of cooperative organizations to create local jobs, retain local capital resources, and increase investment in renewable energy infrastructure.


headshot of Keith Taylor

Keith Taylor

Assistant Economic Development Specialist in Cooperative Extension

headshot of Sarah Outcault

Sarah Outcault

EEI Market Transformation Research Director

For more information, please contact Keith Taylor.

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Electric Cooperative Innovation Center

An engaged research center based at the University of Minnesota and University of California-Davis. We build strategic partnerships between electric cooperatives and universities to develop actionable research grounded in the realities of cooperatives that is independent, rigorous, and transparent.
Visit the website

Product Characterization Reports

The Project Team identified and described product categories eligible for evaluation through the Hub in a series of characterization reports that are organized by 9 technology sectors. Each report provides:

  • An overview
  • Characterization of energy benefits, non-energy benefits, differentiation, installation pathways and dependencies
  • List of products
  • Quantification of performance
  • References

Electric Space Conditioning

Electric space conditioning provides heating and/or cooling without using fossil fuels.

Electric Water Heating

Electric water heaters heat water without the use of fossil fuels.

Commercial Refrigeration

Commercial refrigeration use a refrigeration cycle to create low temperatures suitable for storing refrigerated or frozen products.

Energy Management and Information Systems

Energy management and information systems use sensors and controls to collect and report building energy-related data, detect faults, and automate building systems.

Building Fenestration and Windows

Building fenestration and windows includes window and shading products that reduce heating and cooling loads in buildings.

Plug Load Products

Plug load products reduce the electricity used by devices that are plugged into wall outlets.


Energy efficient lighting includes direct current lighting, lighting controls, light sources, and indoor lighting quality.

Agricultural Irrigation Systems

Agricultural irrigation systems include irrigation and pumping technologies that save electricity and water.

Energy Storage

Energy storage products store electrical (e.g. batteries) or thermal energy to manage electricity demand.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Theresa Pistochini.