The aim of this research was to find the existing challenges to and opportunities for the use of solar energy, in commercial office buildings in the northeastern region of the United States. Although solar energy is an abundant source of energy, it is still not the number one source of energy when compared to other renewable sources of energy. This research explored some of the hindrances or hurdles associated with it and any new opportunities available. The research tried to analyze the various solar energy utilization strategies or other renewable energy strategies employed in a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building and the motivation behind them. Throughout this research study different initiatives, progress and future outlook related to the goal are discussed. Case studies that included surveys or in-depth interviews were conducted along with extensive literature review for this research study. LEED Certified green buildings located in the northeastern region of the United States were selected for the case studies. The case studies included buildings where solar energy was actively utilized and where solar energy was not utilized. The information collected from the case studies, surveys and interviews were used for further analysis and drawing conclusions for this research. Though the idea to use solar energy in buildings has been discussed in the past decades, recent years have witnessed factors that have brought increased focus on the use of alternative energy, including solar energy. The research underlines the importance of aspects such as financial viability, government initiatives or incentives and environmental benefits or concerns. The results of this research present the current opportunities and challenges for solar energy utilization in commercial buildings, which may be of interest to individuals or research institutions, industry or government.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Solar buildings--Northeastern States--Research; Office buildings--Energy conservation--Northeastern States

Publication Date


Document Type



Morelli, John

Advisor/Committee Member

Winebrake, James

Advisor/Committee Member

Greenwood, Lisa


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