Jacksonville, Fla.-based Regency Centers, a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that owns and operates grocery-anchored and community shopping centers, has been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building Initiative, according to Mark Peternell, Regency vice president of sustainability.

The REIT was chosen from among 21 companies in retail, finance and commercial real estate to team with two DOE National Laboratories to spur market adoption of energy-saving technologies and produce buildings with significant and measurable energy savings.

“This is an ambitious project which is designed to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings,” said John Mizroch, DOE acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, in a statement. “Working with leading U.S. companies in a variety of sectors, we believe that we can achieve the nation’s goals of reducing energy use and carbon emissions, plus set an example that other commercial building owners can follow.”

DOE requested proposals from its National Labs and from private sector companies to develop technologies designed to enable energy savings of 50% above the standard set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers for new commercial building designs, and a savings of 30% for retrofits to existing buildings.

Several major retailers and key tenants in Regency Centers’ shopping centers were also among the 21 companies taking part in DOE’s National Accounts program. They include Target, Best Buy, JCPenney and Whole Foods Market.

“Regency Centers will be instrumental in helping the U.S. achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions and working towards net-zero buildings,” said Peternell. The company hopes to help shape sustainability practices in the industry and define cost-effective solutions to adopting energy efficient retail buildings, he said. Regency has developed 191 shopping centers since 2001, with a value at build-out of more than $3 billion.