The UNM School of Engineering will introduce the Building Energy Retrofit Testbed (BERT), a living laboratory in the Mechanical Engineering Department for experiments designed to optimize energy simulation predictions and actual building operations, at a grand opening on Monday, Oct. 17 from 3:30 to 6:15 p.m. in the Atrium of the Mechanical Engineering Building. The grand opening is an opportunity to share valuable knowledge on how to reduce energy consumption in buildings and to interact with green building industry leaders and School of Engineering faculty and students dedicated to studying energy efficiency. Green building professionals, contractors, and building owners are invited to see B.E.R.T. in action. Refreshments will be served.

BERT enables UNM faculty and students to investigate the optimization of building energy models and actual building operations through real time energy models, advanced predictive analysis, detailed fault detection, and improved reliability.

The testbed is being implemented during a time when the environmental impact of buildings is growing, building vacancy rates are high, energy costs are rising, and construction unemployment rates in the U.S increased from five percent in 2007 to over 25 percent in 2010. It is the vision of the UNM School of Engineering that BERT will be a hub for building energy retrofit advancements for the New Mexico building industry, leading to more retrofits, more energy savings, and more jobs.

Yearout Mechanical, Inc.,  a New Mexico based company specializing in the installation of mechanical and process systems for the commercial, government, manufacturing and industrial communities, is providing major financial support to the BERT project.

The event will include an energy expert guest speaker from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a presentation about the BERT research project, and tours of the lab.  Attendees will see how BERT provides hands-on lessons in new ways to control power usage in buildings, the mechanics of thermal storage, smart grid technology, and much more.

It's also a kick-off for a series of periodic events, discussions, and presentations about green building systems and construction job creation through sound, viable energy upgrade investments.  For more information, visit the Web site of the UNM Mechanical Engineering Department's Integrated Sustainable Energy Systems (ISES) Laboratory.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; e-mail: