June Top 10 Solutions

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 08, 2022

The top 10 most-viewed resources on the Better Buildings Solution Center from the past month include strategies for low carbon technologies, energy project financing, and clean energy access in low-income communities. This list also highlights solutions from partners 3M, Celanese Corporation, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Housing Authority of Baltimore City, Denver, CO., and more. Check them out!

1. Showcase Project: 3M Trials Battery-less Cloud Monitoring for Steam Traps

3M Brookings is Better Plants Challenge partner 3M’s largest healthcare products manufacturing facility. This facility has three boilers that provide heat and steam. As the site operates 24/7, steam trap checks are performed while equipment is running, but many of the traps are in hard-to-access areas. 3M installed a real-time steam trap cloud monitoring system to help make trap checks faster and safer. After installing the battery-less monitors, the Brookings facility saw an estimated annual savings of $32,000, a 20-30% reduction in labor costs, and increased plant safety. The project received a 2021 Better Plants Better Project Award. Read more.

2. Showcase Project: Celanese Improves Plant Energy Performance with Boiler Upgrade 

Better Plants Challenge partner Celanese reduced annual energy costs by nearly 20% after completing a $160 million boiler replacement project at its plant in Narrows, Virginia. The project replaced coal-fired boilers with natural gas-fired boilers, substantially improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste. Read more.

3. Low Carbon Technology Strategies Toolkit 

To help building owners and operators reduce carbon emissions, this toolkit offers guidance on how to achieve deep carbon reductions in existing buildings with a primary focus on retrofits and operational strategies. Low carbon technology strategies are currently available for 10 building types, with a supplement for commercial kitchen equipment. Recommendations are grouped by technology, with actions categorized as either simple, intermediate, or advanced. Read more.

4. Showcase Project: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s John Ferraro Building

Built in 1965, the John Ferraro Building (JFB) is an iconic office building that houses Better Plants partner, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The LADWP implemented several energy and water efficiency upgrades to the building’s lighting, plumbing, fan, and chiller systems. The upgrades resulted in 37% energy savings and over $1.7 million in cost savings; the building also achieved LEED Gold certification for Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance. Read more.

5. Zebra Technologies' Climate-Related Physical Risk Characterization and Analysis

In collaboration with DOE’s National Labs, Better Plants and Better Climate Challenge partner Zebra Technologies conducted climate scenario analysis using guidance from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to determine climate risks under the best- and worst-case scenarios for its operations and value chain. This risk assessment framework helped Zebra improve insights for climate-related risk preparedness at both tactical and strategic levels. Read more.

6. IHG Hotels & Resorts Green Engage™ Program

IHG Hotels and Resorts, a Better Buildings Alliance partner, created the IHG Green Engage™ system as a comprehensive online sustainability platform. It allows hotels to track, measure, and report on their carbon footprint and utility consumption. With over 200 Green Solutions, including detailed action plans, guidance, and case studies, Green Engage can help hotels avoid up to $67 million in utility costs while significantly reducing their carbon footprint. Read more.

7. Green Revolving Funds Toolkit

This collection of solutions provides guidance on establishing a green revolving fund to overcome a lack of dedicated capital. A green revolving fund is an internal capital pool dedicated to funding energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability projects that generate cost savings. A portion of those savings is then used to replenish the fund, establishing an ongoing funding vehicle to help drive energy efficiency and sustainability investment over time. Read more.

8. Denver's Energy Benchmarking Ordinance

In its effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050, Better Buildings Challenge partner Denver, CO developed sector specific targets and enacted the Energize Denver Benchmarking Ordinance. This ordinance established an energy efficiency program and required many building owners to publicly benchmark their buildings. Since the ordinance went into effect in 2016, benchmarked buildings have cut energy use by 0.4% on average annually while all buildings have increased energy use by 1.2% on average annually. Read more.

9. Showcase Project: New York City Housing Authority's 344 East 28th Street

To address energy challenges faced at its 344 East 28th Street multifamily apartment complex, Better Buildings Challenge partner New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) conducted an extensive lighting, heating, and hot-water modernization project. Energy-efficient upgrades made to these building systems, as well as NYCHA’s first-ever deployment of renewable technologies, resulted in nearly 40% annual energy savings and nearly $114,000 in cost savings. Read more.

10. Showcase Project: Baltimore Housing Capitalizes on Retrofit Work and System Efficiency at Cherry Hill Homes

Built in 1945 by Better Buildings Challenge Partner the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), Cherry Hill Homes is the largest public housing development in Baltimore, MD. To address heating issues, HABC capitalized on previous retrofit work and systems efficiency by making equipment and controls more accessible to maintenance personnel. Additionally, they replaced the entire heating system and installed new lighting, weatherization, heating controls, smart meters, and more. The upgrades resulted in 35% energy savings and over $1.1 million in cost savings. Read more.