Better Buildings Alliance: Newsroom

Jul 16, 2019

On July 16, DOE recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner University of Virginia (UVA) for impressive energy efficiency advances made on its campus. UVA is home to more than 40,000 students, faculty, and staff and more than 500 buildings. As a partner in DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, UVA committed to improving its energy performance by 20% in 10 years across 15.3 million square feet. 

Representatives from DOE visited UVA’s Better Buildings Showcase Project Clark Hall  to tour the building’s energy and water upgrades. UVA implemented a combination of energy and water conservation upgrades, converting all 5,000 interior and exterior fixtures from fluorescent lamps to LED, installing low-flow toilets and faucet aerators, recalibrating air handling units, and upgrading HVAC controls. As a result, Clark Hall achieved an annual energy savings of $750,000, or 65%, along with an annual water savings of $22,000, or 79%, relative to their pre-retrofit baseline.

Jul 10, 2019

On July 10, Energy Secretary Rick Perry kicked off the Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit by recognizing more than 20 Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge partners and allies who achieved their energy, water, or financial goals for 2019 and five who have recently set new Challenge goals after meeting their initial goals. These goal achievers are part of the hundreds of organizations that work with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the Better Buildings Initiative and are featured in the annual Better Buildings Progress Report. The Secretary also announced the launch of the Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Pilot.

Last year, Better Buildings Initiative partners and allies saved 1.38 quadrillion British thermal units and $8.4 billion in total energy costs. These organizations are leading the U.S. in energy efficiency by adopting emerging technologies, advancing the American workforce, and sharing their innovative approaches to energy and water efficiency.

May 16, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the progress made by the more than 900 public- and private-sector organizations leading the U.S. in energy efficiency through their participation in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Better Buildings Initiative. Together, Better Buildings partners have saved 1.38 quadrillion British thermal units, equivalent to $8.4 billion in energy and cost savings. These market leaders are adopting emerging technologies, advancing the American workforce, and sharing their innovative approaches to energy and water efficiency. The 2019 Better Buildings Progress Report released today highlights this progress and specific accomplishments in the commercial, industrial, residential, and public sectors to improve energy productivity.

May 02, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy is recognizing eight organizations for their leadership in the Better Buildings Initiative’s Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign. Since the Campaign’s inception in 2013, more than 350 participants have impacted 160,000 rooftop units, saving $110 million and more than 1 billion kWh annually.

The Advanced RTU Campaign provides technical resources and recognition to commercial building owners, managers, and operators that want to increase building performance and upgrade rooftop units to high-efficiency RTU technologies. The Campaign works in close liaison with manufacturers, utilities, energy efficiency organizations, and contractors who contribute to the Campaign’s success. Through the Campaign and other initiatives, DOE supports research and development for new RTU technologies. Although payback periods can vary, a well implemented replacement or retrofit of RTUs with advanced controls can have a payback of one to four years. View the list of winners

Mar 25, 2019

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Alliance partner REI for the energy productivity advances made in its Arizona distribution center located in Goodyear, Arizona. Supporting 40% of the co-op’s stores and employing more than 200 people, the center has achieved an annual energy savings of 18% and annual cost savings of $170,000 from the baseline in the first two years of operation. The Goodyear distribution center is REI’s Better Buildings Showcase Project.

To meet an ambitious goal to have the facility be net-zero energy consumption, REI installed a 2.2-megawatt solar system which is expected to power the entire facility, bringing REI's overall annual energy savings to 100%. The solar array covers 280,000 square feet of roof space and the city of Goodyear's power station is adjacent to the facility, which helps reduce energy loss through transmission. 

REI has implemented other measures as well. REI installed a non-evaporative cooling system which eliminated the need for cooling towers, saving millions of gallons of water every year. The distribution center put energy efficiency directly in the hands of its employees by adding hyperchairs that give staff the ability to control their own microclimate with individual fans and heating elements. Additional energy and cost savings are expected for 2019 as a result of retro-commissioning work completed in late 2018.

The REI facility is the industry’s first omni-channel 1-touch fulfillment system, which enables one person to process items eight times faster than at a typical distribution center by using robotic shuttles to move products. In partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation and The Nature Conservancy of Arizona, REI has supported modernization of irrigation infrastructure to conserve water and enhance flows for recreation and wildlife, protect farmland and limit development and water extraction in sensitive areas, as well as removal of invasive plants to restore river habitat.

REI joined DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance in 2015. Since becoming a partner, REI has actively participated in program events, including webinars, meetings, and working groups to share energy efficiency best practices with peers in the retail sector.  

More than 900 organizations now partner with DOE in Better Buildings and have saved more than $3 billion in energy costs to-date. Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants more energy-efficient by accelerating investment and sharing of successful best practices. Greater efficiency saves billions of dollars on energy bills, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and creates jobs.

Discover more than 1,500 proven solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center. View photos from this event on the Better Buildings Beat Blog

Aug 21, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Better Buildings Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) recognized 15 organizations for leading the way in upgrading their interior lighting and control systems. These partners, along with those recognized in the last two years, have newly installed or upgraded more than 2.8 million lighting fixtures and controls system - cutting energy use on average by 54% and saving $68 million on energy bills.

On average, lighting accounts for 15% - 20% of the electricity that U.S. buildings consume annually, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey. Case studies conducted by DOE over the course of the ILC estimate that building owners or managers can save up to 60% in energy costs when replacing less efficient troffers with new ones, and up to 80% of lighting energy by adding controls such as dimmers, timers, and occupancy sensors.

Aug 20, 2018

Energy Department Brings Energy Training and Peer Event to Cleveland to Expand Progress in Resilient Energy and Water Management in Federal Facilities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is hosting the Energy Exchange and Better Buildings Summit, the largest DOE training, trade show, and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing event of the year, in Cleveland, Ohio, from August 21–23, 2018. Co-sponsored by DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program and Better Buildings Initiative, the event is an annual, collaborative forum between the federal government, industry, and state and local stakeholders within the building, energy, water, and transportation communities. Thought leaders will convene to work toward accelerating the adoption of energy and water efficiency, integrated resilience, emerging and secure technologies, and replicable renewable energy solutions.

This year’s event features more than 200 technical training sessions and serves as DOE’s most dynamic opportunity to share best practices, provide technical information and tools, and offer accredited training to federal facility and energy managers. DOE will recognize innovative private sector partners and federal leaders at the FEDS Spotlight and Better Buildings Challenge Partner Recognition sessions and will provide on-site technical expertise alongside experts from the national laboratories at the Ask-an-Expert Lounge.

The Opening Plenary begins at 8:30am Tuesday, August 21, and features speakers from FEMP, the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). On Tuesday afternoon, attendees can participate in Showcase Building Tours. Better Buildings partners and other Cleveland-area organizations are opening their doors to share the insights and experiences behind their energy and water-efficient properties and the strategies that help them achieve their goals. Tour groups will meet in Grand Ballroom C at the Huntington Convention Center by 2:00pm to check in, sign a waiver, and be guided to their destination. A limited number of walk-on spaces will be available; these are first-come, first-serve. 

Wednesday features Better Buildings Sector Meet-ups, Keynote speakers - including the Mayor of Cleveland, Chairman of the Ohio PUC, and C-suite executives from Legrand and Cleveland Clinic - the Resilience Roundtable and Buildings and the Grid roundtable discussions, and a reception for all attendees from 5:30 - 7:30pm. Throughout the conference Tuesday-Thursday, technical experts from the National Labs, FEMP, and more will be staffing the Ask-an-Expert Lounge outside the Energy Exchange Trade Show. View the full schedule here

May 10, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the progress made by more than 900 public and private-sector organizations that are driving energy efficiency in the U.S. economy through their participation in the Better Buildings Initiative. This includes 380 trillion Btus, or $3.1 billion in reported cumulative energy and cost savings from the set of market leaders that have stepped up to the Better Buildings Challenge. Moreover, partners across the Better Buildings Initiative are sharing their innovative approaches and successful strategies to accelerate the adoption of energy efficient technologies and practices. The 2018 Better Buildings Progress Report released today highlights this progress in the commercial, industrial, residential and public sectors to improve energy productivity.   

"Partners in the Better Buildings Initiative are achieving impressive energy savings worthy of celebration," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. "Partners are meeting their savings goals, testing the latest technologies, and sharing their results. Together, they are showcasing a new generation of energy saving solutions."

The Better Buildings Initiative has grown to encompass more than 900 organizations, which represents 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as 28 states and close to 100 cities and counties across the nation. 

Apr 10, 2018

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign is recognizing seven organizations for their leadership in installing more energy efficient RTUs in commercial buildings. As part of the Better Buildings Initiative, the Advanced RTU Campaign works with commercial building owners, managers, and operators that wish to upgrade to high-efficiency RTU technologies and practices in commercial buildings, as well as utilities, energy efficiency organizations, contractors, and manufacturers that can assist. Since its 2013 launch, more than 300 partners have replaced or upgraded close to 115,000 units, saving more than $90 million in energy costs annually.

Together these seven organizations replaced and/or retrofitted more than 10,000 units and installed 5,800 Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics (AFDD) systems in a single year, realizing an annual savings of more than 50 million kilowatt hours (kWhs), equivalent to $5 million. New recognition categories for AFDD and intelligent controls were included this year to align with the campaign’s enhanced focus on operational efficiency.

Jun 27, 2017

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge recognized Loews Hotels & Co. for the energy efficiency upgrades made at the Vanderbilt Hotel through the company's showcase project. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Loews has set a goal to reduce energy use across all of its hotels by 20% in ten years. Over the past two years, the Vanderbilt hotel has improved its energy efficiency by 22% and achieved a total energy cost savings of $328,250.

With updates to lighting and HVAC systems, guest rooms, and building envelope, the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel is demonstrating how building efficiency upgrades can preserve both comfort and affordability for its visitors.  

 

May 16, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the energy-efficiency progress made by the 345 leading public and private sector organizations in the Better Buildings Challenge. These efforts have led to a combined 240 trillion Btus and an estimated $1.9 billion in cumulative energy and cost savings. These results are summarized in the 2017 Better Buildings Progress Report released today that highlights accomplishments across the broader Better Buildings Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade by focusing on overcoming market barriers and sharing partner-created solutions.

May 15, 2017

This year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) welcomed 240 organizations as partners into the Better Buildings Alliance, Better Plants, Better Communities Alliance and Better Buildings Accelerators—collaborative efforts designed to help public sector organizations and private sector companies to save money and improve energy efficiency. Today, DOE is releasing new tools and resources developed in collaboration with Accelerator partners and announcing important results from its technology campaigns. Part of the Better Buildings Initiative, these efforts target specific barriers to energy efficiency and encourage the discovery and demonstration of innovative technologies and best practices for saving energy.

Apr 19, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy, through the Better Buildings Alliance's Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign (ARC), is recognizing eight organizations for their energy efficiency leadership in replacing and upgrading rooftop units (RTUs) in commercial buildings. Since 2013, 300 partners have replaced or upgraded a total of 77,000 units, saving over $166 million in energy costs and racking up $66 million in savings in 2016 alone.

Jan 12, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is introducing a new, web-based financing navigator to help private and public sector organizations discover financing solutions for energy efficiency projects that meet their unique needs. Limited financing options are often cited as a major barrier to investing in energy efficient systems. Through the Better Buildings Financing Navigator, building owners, facility and energy managers, and other decision-makers can connect with financiers, including banks and financial institutions, to pursue energy-saving measures.

Nov 30, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today launched season two of “Better Buildings Challenge SWAP,” featuring the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy. Both military operations swap energy teams to improve the energy efficiency of each one’s campus.

The web series covers a two-day swap at each campus. The teams learn from each other that they can apply simple behavioral changes to help students and faculty be more mindful about lighting usage and plug loads in classrooms when not in use.

Oct 04, 2016

As part of Smart Cities Week, the White House recently announced a new Energy Department-led Smart Energy Analytics Campaign to encourage the use of cost-effective, energy-saving building analytics platforms – also known as energy management information systems technologies (EMIS) – in commercial buildings nationwide, and refine best practices. Energy management information system (EMIS) technologies are a broad group of smart energy management tools that help monitor, analyze and control building energy use and system performance. EMIS can achieve 10-20 percent energy savings in a single commercial building. If these best practices were adopted by all commercial buildings in the nation, more than $4 billion in cost savings could be achieved.

The campaign is also meant to help building operators use analytics for overall long-term energy management and better building performance. The initial goal is to engage commercial building owners and operators to use smart energy analytics in 80 million square feet of floor space. Already the 18 partners represent a total of 1,800 buildings or 50 million square feet. 

Aug 29, 2016

The Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge recognized the Wendy’s Company and its franchisee, Wendco Group, for leadership in energy efficiency. This local restaurant achieved a 37 percent total energy reduction or more than 50 percent energy savings per sales transaction, and nearly $8,000 in savings annually.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Wendy’s has committed to achieving 20 percent energy savings over 10 years, across 1.5 million square feet of building space at company-owned restaurants. It’s also the first restaurant company to include franchisees. To date, six franchisees have joined, adding an additional 270 restaurants (nearly 700,000 square feet) to the collective Wendy’s footprint. 

Wendy’s joined the Better Buildings Challenge in January of this year and was so inspired by the program that the company started its own program called the Wendy’s Energy Challenge. The program is modeled after the Better Buildings Challenge and encourages Wendy’s franchisees across North America to be good stewards of energy usage. 

 

Jun 27, 2016

The Energy Department today announced the results of this year’s Better Buildings Alliance technology and market campaigns. Through partnerships with public and private sector organizations, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is working with interested landlords, tenants, and owners to adopt solutions that best meet the needs of their buildings for sustainable leasing and upgrades to indoor lighting. There are now over 160 participants and supporters in the Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) and 40 Green Lease Leaders. Together these leading organizations continue to prove how novel thinking and innovative technologies can rapidly cut the energy wasted by the nation’s commercial buildings, including offices, hospitals, restaurants, retail stores, and even military bases.

May 26, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative in partnership with CoStar Group, Inc., a provider of data and intelligence solutions to commercial real estate professionals, will expand the visibility of energy-efficient buildings in U.S. property markets and promote the benefits of energy efficiency for building owners and occupants. CoStar Group will display energy-related information that is already being made publicly accessible by state and local governments that have adopted building energy transparency laws. It plans to begin displaying energy-related information for buildings in Chicago and Washington, D.C., this summer, followed by buildings in other applicable states and localities beginning this fall.

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May 11, 2016

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro released Better Buildings Challenge partner results, announced three new focus areas in local communities, and highlighted overall signs of growth in the initiative’s reach and influence. 

Since 2011, both the number of Better Buildings Challenge partners and energy efficiency commitments have tripled, resulting in energy cost savings that now exceed the $1.3 billion mark and the avoidance of 10 million tons of harmful carbon emissions.  There are now 310 Better Buildings Challenge partners who are set to achieve goals of at least 20 percent energy reduction within 10 years. Together they represent 34,000 buildings and facilities, 4.2 billion square feet, and $5.5 billion dollars in energy efficiency investment. Latest reporting shows partners are on track, decreasing energy use on average by over two percent each year.

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May 09, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy announced the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Certified Energy Auditor® (CEA) program is recognized under the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines (BBWG) program, making it the first energy auditor program to earn BBWG Recognition. The Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines are a national framework from which organizations can develop high-quality and nationally-recognized training and certification programs, helping to address consistency, quality, and scalability issues in the commercial energy efficiency workforce.

Apr 26, 2016

As part of the Administration's strategy to increase energy productivity and cut energy waste in our nation's buildings, today the U.S. Department of Energy recognized six organizations for their leadership in replacing and upgrading rooftop units as part of the Better Buildings Alliance Rooftop Unit Campaign (ARC). Combined, these organizations in a single year have saved an estimated 1 trillion British thermal units (Btu) or more than $11 million on utility costs with efficient rooftop unit (RTU) replacements, retrofits, and quality management and operations. Since 2013, 250 ARC partners have upgraded 59,500 RTUs for a total energy savings of 10 trillion Btu, or $93 million in cost savings.

May 27, 2015

Today the Energy Department launched a new indoor lighting campaign to increase the use of high efficiency lighting technologies in commercial buildings. Through the Better Buildings Alliance, the Department is working with key stakeholders and end users in both the public and private sectors to install and demonstrate advanced technologies. Additionally, the Department recognized Advanced Roof-top Unit Campaign (ARC) partners and Green Lease Leaders for collaboration between building owners, landlords and tenants to improve energy efficiency

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