Dr. Joshua D. Kneifel is an economist in the Applied Economics Office of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Kneifel joined the staff at the Applied Economics Office after receiving his PhD from the University of Florida in 2008. His research at NIST has been focused on quantifying sustainability performance of buildings. Dr. Kneifel implements whole building simulations, life cycle costing, and life cycle assessment to determine the economic, environmental, and occupant consequences of increasing the energy efficiency of building construction.
Dr. Kneifel is the project lead for the “Metrics and Tools for Sustainable Buildings” project, which uses measurement science to develop and implement metrics, data, and tools for quantifying sustainability performance in buildings.
Dr. Kneifel oversees the development of software tools that calculate the sustainability performance of individual building products (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability – BEES) and whole buildings (Building Industry Reporting and Design for Sustainability – BIRDS).
Dr. Kneifel is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Athena Sustainable Materials Institute ASMI) to combine NIST’s BIRDS sustainability framework and ASMI’s Impact Estimator for Buildings (IE4B) to create an API (named the BIRDS Neutral Environment Software Tool - BIRDS NEST) that allows OpenStudio users to calculate custom, detailed whole building life cycle assessment estimates for residential buildings.
Dr. Kneifel is overseeing the development of the Economic Evaluation Engine (E3), a publicly available API that will provide standards-based economic calculations (e.g., life cycle cost analysis (LCCA), benefit-cost analysis (BCA), profit maximization/cost minimization, and sensitivity and uncertainty analysis) that can be leveraged for custom internal and external research and tool development across all research areas across all engineered systems.
Dr. Kneifel is overseeing the development of web applications "Powered by E3." The first is Present Value of Photovoltaics ([PV]2) that is a web application that allows homeowners to determine a complete cost of ownership for residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems including purchase and operation through the system’s service life and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to consuming energy from the local electric grid. Other use cases are being pursued outside the built environment, including community resilience and manufacturing.
Dr. Kneifel is also the project lead for the Building Life Cycle Cost project funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). This project provides resources to support federal life cycle cost analysis (LCCA). NIST recently published a revision to the Federal LCC Methodology (Handbook 135) and transitioned the Energy Escalation Rate Calculator (EERC) from an executable software program to a web application. NIST is collaborating with FEMP to make a similar transition of the Building Life Cycle Cost (BLCC) software from an executable program to a web application in 2024 that will also be "Powered by E3."
Recently, Dr. Kneifel's research has expanded into other topics areas. He leads LCA of Polymers (Plastics) to Improve Circularity that is evaluating the current research and data gaps for completing life cycle assessment of plastics and will be leading a similar effort focused on low carbon concrete. He is also overseeing two efforts related to circular economy of batteries. the first is a survey of perspectives of current and potential electric vehicle owners on electric vehicle battery performance. The second is an assessment of current capabilities in electric vehicle battery performance modeling.