The California Energy Commission awarded a $544,000 grant to improve energy efficiency of new state buildings at its January 5 meeting. The funds will be used to test whether these structures deliver efficiency that was projected when the buildings were designed. New buildings often ?waste energy,? noted Martha Brook, CEC senior mechanical engineer. While not directly tied to the effort, the commission?s project complements Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?s ?green buildings? executive order of December 15, 2004. The directive requires that existing government and private commercial buildings reduce electricity use by 10 percent per square foot by 2010 and 20 percent per square foot by 2015. The governor also mandated that all new and renovated buildings paid for with state funds hit efficiency targets. A contract worth $600,000 was awarded for a pilot of a 25 kW dual-shell Stirling engine. Around for 200 years, Stirling engines are sometimes used for solar applications. The dual-shell design is intended to make the engines more efficient by improving heat transfer. In other actions, grants totaling roughly $599,000 were awarded to fund demos for innovations in high-efficiency air conditioning, fuel cell usage, and other energy projects. Bob Therkelsen, CEC executive director, noted that the commission is celebrating its 30th birthday this week.