Berkeley Lab’s Mexico Energy Initiative (MEI) seeks to play an important role in supporting Mexico’s transition to greater clean energy production, more efficient use of energy, and aggressive carbon emissions reductions. MEI builds on long-term relationships with the Secretariat of Energy (SENER), Mexican Federal Energy Efficiency Commission (CONUEE), National Electricity and Renewable Energy Lab (INEEL), and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). More recently, collaboration has focused at the sub-national level through engagement with the government of Mexico City.

Mexico Cooling Initiative

Considering the importance of cooling to Mexico’s energy system, as well as the tools to mitigate it (e.g. equipment efficiency and advanced construction), Berkeley Lab partnered with USAID, SENER and CONUEE on a Summit on Space Cooling Research Needs and Opportunities in 2018 to launch the Mexico Cooling Initiative.

These discussions set the stage for a Mexico Cooling Initiative with goals to cut cooling energy demand by half versus Business-As-Usual and save 100 billion dollars of electricity costs and subsidies by 2050, The main work areas include:

  • Equipment standards
  • DSM adoption programs
  • Technology R&D
  • Building codes
  • Cool surfaces and passive building design and operation

Cooling Summit bringing together important stakeholders in Mexico and highlighting main areas for further action and a Cooling Community of Practice providing a clearing house of relevant resources and tools in each identified area.

Oscar Vasquez, Mexico City Ministry of Environment; Michael McNeil, Berkeley Lab; Adriana Lobo, WRI Mexico; Odon de Buen, National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy; and Luis Gutierrez, National Autonomous University of Mexico. Photo from WRI Mexico

Efficient Building Challenge in Mexico City

Berkeley Lab is providing technical assistance with support from USAID/Mexico to implement a new phase of the Building Efficiency Challenge, an initiative started in 2020 by the World Resources Institute Mexico (WRI Mexico), the Mexico City Secretariat of the Environment, the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico. 

The Building Efficiency Challenge welcomed private companies from across Mexico to participate in efforts to cut energy use and emissions by 10% annually and avoid 825 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions each year. The companies that engaged in this initiative, supported by USAID Mexico and Berkeley Lab, reduced energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by 6% in only 5 months.

LBNL launched the BETTER | Mexico toolkit, which adds a building energy database specific to Mexico, customized building electricity statistics, and fossil energy consumption statistics to deliver precise benchmarking and net-zero retrofit analysis of buildings in Mexico. The customized toolkit is accessible in English and Spanish.

Watch this video to hear testimonials by Challenge participants in Spanish.

Clean Development of the Hotel Industry in Quintana Roo

The Secretariat of Ecology and Environment of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, and LBNL announced the results of a pilot program supported by USAID/Mexico to promote clean development of the hotel industry.

A group of eight hotels that participated in the pilot program implemented with the help of Quintana Roo’ Secretariat of Tourism provided energy consumption data that was analyzed using LBNL’s Building Efficient Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits to identify low or no-cost energy efficiency measures that will result in economic and environmental benefits.

The announcement, made on September 19 at a virtual event led by Secretary Efrain Villanueva Arcos, included a presentation of energy savings and emissions reductions that could be achieved by the participating hotels under different ambition scenarios. The analysis, the first of its kind targeting the hotel industry in Mexico, showed that implementation of energy efficiency measures under the High Ambition scenario could represent energy cost savings of 39.5% and 5,954.3 tCO2e greenhouse gas emissions avoided in one year.

The pilot program allowed entrepreneurs to identify areas of opportunity to achieve greater competitiveness by advancing energy efficiency, reducing costs, and supporting a climate-friendly development of the hotel industry in Quintana Roo.

Air Conditioning Metering Study in Sonora

Credible data about energy use, markets for technology, and related costs are indispensable components of technical analysis underpinning energy efficiency programs and policies. Unfortunately, these data are often scarce in developing countries, posing a significant barrier to effective policy development. LBNL’s Energy Efficiency for Development program worked to solve this data deficiency in Mexico by conducting a first-of-its-kind analysis on residential air conditioning use for the state of Sonora, Mexico, where summer temperatures routinely approach 105ºF.

The analysis found that aggressive energy efficiency adoption can reduce high electricity bills of Mexican households that use air conditioners and alleviate the barrier to cleaner electricity production posed by growing air conditioner use. While mass adoption of inverter-type air conditioners is an aspirational goal of Mexican policymakers, clear evidence of cost-effectiveness has been lacking until now. The Sonora field study plays a crucial role in the development of energy efficiency policies, including mandatory regulations, cross-subsidies, and public awareness campaigns.

Partnerships with a Real Estate Investment Trust

As part of ongoing engagement with the construction industry in Mexico to advance energy efficiency measures, Berkeley Lab and Fibra Uno (FUNO), with support from USAID Mexico, expanded the use of the BETTER | Mexico toolkit to analyze FUNO’s extensive building portfolio. 

FUNO is Mexico and Latin America’s largest real estate investment trust, with a portfolio accounting for roughly 30% of all properties belonging to real estate investment trusts in the country.

FUNO will be featured in net-zero and energy efficiency case studies under the partnership with USAID Mexico and LBNL. These expanded efforts follow the deployment of the BETTER toolkit to accelerate energy efficiency and net-zero energy retrofits for nearly 100 of FUNO properties across Mexico. The enhanced collaboration aligns with FUNO’s sustainability goals.

The scaled-up collaboration with USAID Mexico and LBNL has the potential for a 10% reduction in FUNO’s energy consumption, which will avoid emission of 695,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The partnership demonstrates an approach for decarbonizing real estate investment portfolios at speed, scale, and low cost for 2,000 real estate investment trust properties in Mexico.

Increasing collaboration with the construction industry in Mexico is central in USAID Mexico and LBNL efforts to scale up energy efficiency and net-zero interventions in the building sector through the BETTER | Mexico toolkit.

News and Updates

Launching of USAID/Mexico Partnership for Net Zero Cities

LBNL (along with members of USAID's Energy and Green Cities Division)…

LBNL Delivers Training Improve Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Mexico

On August 10, 2022, USAID/Mexico partner Lawrence Berkeley…

Advancing discussions on building codes implementation in Mexico City

The MEI team (Lead Michael McNeil and Program Manager Alberto…
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