Top-10 Solutions in 2015

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jan 06, 2016

This past year, at the Better Buildings Summit, the Energy Department launched the Better Buildings Solution Center, an online tool, hosting hundreds of partner solutions that have been proven to accelerate energy savings in single buildings, and across entire building portfolios. As users browse the Solution Center they can easily find by topic the solutions partners implemented to help them to understand how leading organizations achieve significant energy savings. As we have added more partner approaches and models to the Solution Center, these solutions can be shared more broadly with the marketplace, and with other organizations looking to adopt proven and cost-effective solutions. The department is excited to feature below the top-10 and most viewed solutions since May 2015, when the Solution Center first launched. Happy solution seeking!

1. Solution at a Glance: Outdoor Lighting Decision Tree Tool Features Successful Approaches of Cities, States, and Regional Groups

Municipalities, states, and other public and federal agencies are continuously looking for new opportunities to decrease spending on utility bills, improve safety and services, and protect the environment. High-performance outdoor lighting technologies are proving to be a cost-effective energy savings measure, often offering 50 percent or more savings relative to previously installed systems while lasting longer and offering tremendous maintenance and operational benefits. The cost of these technologies can be further reduced for deployment in local communities through collaboration, including volume or bulk purchasing, and customized utility incentives and tariffs. Read more.

2. General Mills Showcase Project: Cedar Rapids Heat Recovery

Boiler condensing economizerGeneral Mills' Cedar Rapids, Iowa, plant is its largest production facility, producing over 70 million cases of ready-to-eat food annually, including cereals, fruit snacks, and frosting. Built in 1968, the facility has a successful history of energy reduction, the product of General Mills’ five-step process that benchmarks, identifies, develops, executes, and then validates energy reduction projects.General Mills is conducting a comprehensive heat recovery project that is expected to reduce energy usage at the plant by about 5%. In combination with other recent efforts, this will lead to a total energy intensity improvement of about 23% over the last four years at the plant. Read more.

3. City of Milwaukee Implementation Model: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program 

The PACE program is part of the broader Milwaukee Energy Efficiency (Me2) program, which also offers financing for home energy efficiency projects. The city pursued PACE because it helps owners finance improvements that serve the general welfare of the community by increasing property values, stimulating local economic activity, and providing environmental benefit. Read more

4. MGM Implementation Model: Energy Efficiency App

MGM Resort International’s sustainability and operating staff have long focused on retrofitting and upgrading building equipment, but recognized the opportunity to drive sustainable behavioral change throughout their employee base. Since 2013, MGM Resorts employees have completed almost 700,000 efficiency actions resulting in estimated savings of over 7 million kWh of energy, 200,000 gallons of fuel, 16 million gallons of water, and 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions through 2014. Read more.

5. J.R. Simplot Showcase Project: New Potato Processing Plant

J.R. Simplot’s showcase project is a new, 420,000 square foot, state-of-the-art potato processing plant that will integrate innovative energy-efficient technologies to achieve dramatic energy efficiency improvements of up to 25% while producing hundreds of millions of pounds of frozen potato products per year. Once built, the plant is expected to save the company millions of dollars and contribute to its goal of reducing energy intensity by 25% over 10 years. Read more

6. Hilton Showcase Project: Columbus DowntownHotel lobby aerial view

The Hilton Columbus Downtown is a newly-built 532-room hotel which was designed to be 32% more efficient than required by the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standard. The property features a number of energy conservation measures (ECMs) including efficient lighting, a building automation system, and variable frequency drives. As a result, Hilton Worldwide saved 32% in annual energy consumption and $387,000 in annual energy costs versus ASHRAE 90.1 2007. Read more

7. GE Implementation Model:Operations Management Leadership Program 

GE is strategically reducing energy consumption throughout its manufacturing operations and supply chain through its Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP). By design, the program accelerates the deployment of newly hired engineers that are trained in GE’s energy and environmental management program and equipped with the necessary functional and leadership skills needed to help meet the company’s near- and long-term operational challenges. Read more

8. Walgreens Showcase Project: Net Zero Energy Retail Store

Net zero wind turbineWalgreens' robust energy efficiency program for existing buildings includes LED lighting, HVAC retrofits, cooler door retrofits, and energy management systems. Walgreens also has over 150 locations with solar arrays and a store with a geothermal system. Walgreens incorporated the best practices from all of these efforts in its first net zero energy retail store, which opened on November 21st, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois.The Evanston store will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes by implementing energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies including: energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting, ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration, solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal technology. Read more

9. Citi Implementation Model: Citi Riverdale Data Center Energy Services Agreement (ESA)

Citi wanted to implement a pilot project to deliver efficient electricity and cooling in one of their UK data centers. The project is for the installation of a 2.8 MW trigen plant, along with other energy efficiency measures, utilizing an energy services agreement (ESA): a structure that treats host payments as an operating cost rather than a capital expense. For this project, Citi will serve as the host and debt-provider; a first for financial institutions in the pursuit of deepening efficiency improvements and GHG reductions. Read more

Placer County Main Image10. Placer County Showcase Project: Granlibakken Conference Center & Resort

The Granlibakken Conference Center & Resort is located less than one mile from beautiful Lake Tahoe in the heart of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. The site is located on 74 wooded acres and is comprised of a conference center, restaurant, lodging units, swimming pool, tennis courts, spa, and outdoor patios and pavilion. The project, which focused on energy efficiency improvements to the conference center and restaurant, was financed by mPOWER Placer through the Placer County Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. Read more