Highlights from the 2019 Summit: Part 2

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jul 23, 2019

For part 1 of the highlights from the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit, click here.

Thursday, July 11

Utah State Representative Steve Handy addresses the session attendeesDay 2 of the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit began with a full block of sessions, and even with the 9 A.M. start the discussions were energetic and the rooms were packed! In “How Champions and Partners Got it Done: Adopting Renewable Energy Goals in Utah”, attendees heard from Utah State Representative Stephen Handy about Utah’s District 16 Community Renewable Energy Act. The group used this example to explore how NGOs, utilities, communities, and other stakeholders can work collaboratively to move toward 100% renewably sourced electricity.

“Catalyzing a Diverse Energy Efficiency Workforce” examined programs and educational opportunities designed to improve underrepresented group engagement with and employment in the energy efficiency industry, and “Buildings of the Future: Commercial Partner Strategies for Building Resilience” focused on ways to improve commercial building resiliency through strategies such as energy financing, energy infrastructure upgrades, and CHP. Other sessions explored the latest in technology areas like EMIS, building envelope, plug loads, and HVAC.

A woman in the audience speaks in a discussion Renee McClure from National Grid presents at the podium
Session attendees seated at rounds in a discussion Wendell Brase from UC Irvine addresses an audience 

Ask-an-Expert was running during both the morning and afternoon session breaks, with a steady stream of visitors. Experts were on hand to discuss energy assessment software and energy data management, water efficiency, smart labs, and more.

Monica Witt from Los Alamos National Lab answers a question about Smart Labs at the Ask an Expert booth  Miles Hayes from the National Renewable Energy Lab and Crystal McDonald from the DC Sustainable Energy Utility talk about utility incentive programs at Ask an Expert    An overhead view of the Ask an Expert area

Lunch opened with the annual recognition of the Better Buildings and Better Plants Challenge Goal Achievers. Better Buildings Director Maria Vargas and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons welcomed the 2019 Goal Achievers to the stage to congratulate them for meeting or exceeding their energy, water, or financial goals.

 2019 Goal Achievers standing in a line The audience applauds for the 2019 Goal Achievers
A table displaying the 2019 Goal Achiever crystal trophies

The audience also recognized new partners, partners setting new goals, and those who are on-track to meet their Better Buildings targets.

Simmons then introduced the lunch plenary panel, “Hearing from the Experts: Emerging Technologies and Things to Watch” with speakers Dr. Craig Blue, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs and the Environmental Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dr. Jud Virden, Associate Laboratory Director of the Energy and Environment Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Dr. Martin Keller, Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Together, they discussed trends and technologies driving the work in the Labs, including the rise in smart building technologies and growing concerns about cybersecurity, as well as answering audience questions.

Assistant Secretary Daniel Simmons seated with Craig Blue, Jud Virden, and Martin Keller on the stage

The Thursday afternoon sessions maintained the momentum of the day, with a strong attendance in the “Making a Splash: Tools to Help Wastewater Treatment Facilities Upgrade Their Infrastructure” and “ISO 50001: Energy Management Systems in the Real World” sessions.

The Summit finished strong with the return of the fan-favorite “Energy EfficienSHE: Women's Perspectives in Sustainability". Leaders from U.S. Inspect, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., and Los Alamos National Laboratory discussed their experiences and shared their insights as women navigating the sustainability field, before taking questions from the audience.

Better Buildings Director Maria Vargas, Rose Buckley of U.S. Inspect, Altramese Roberts Thompkins of Toyota, and Monica Witt of Los Alamos National Lab Altramese Roberts Thompkins of Toyota addresses the Energy Efficien She session

Bruce Condit of Connex speaks to the audience for How to Tell Your Energy Efficiency StoryThe final session block also included “How and Where to Tell Your Energy Efficiency Story”, wherein experts and partners including L’Oréal USA and Starbucks shared different communications and engagement strategies for getting audiences to pay attention to organizational energy accomplishments. Based on audience feedback (and the crowded room), there are already plans to turn this session into a webinar for the 2019-2020 Better Buildings Webinar Series!

All of us at Better Buildings are grateful to our partners, speakers, and attendees for making the 2019 Summit such a memorable event. We hope to see you all again in 2020!