Top-10 Solutions in September

Each month we feature the most viewed partner solutions in the Better Buildings Solution Center. September's top-10 solutions are below. 






Milwaukee Skyline Image1. City of Milwaukee, WI: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program

In order to facilitate energy efficiency improvements of commercial and industrial buildings in its jurisdiction, the City of Milwaukee implemented a property assessed clean energy (PACE) program which allows building owners to repay loans for clean energy improvements over time through a special assessment on their property tax bill attached to the property, not the owner. If the owner sells the property before the end of the loan term, the new owner inherits the loan along with the energy improvements, which reduces the risk of financing to building owners. This financing option removes barriers of access to capital and split incentives when property ownership term is shorter than project payback by availing additional financing options to building owners.


2. Tower Companies: Leveraging Green Leases to Reduce Energy and Water UseTower Companies: Leveraging Green Leases to Reduce Energy and Water Use building

Like most landlords, Tower does not have control over energy and water usage in tenant office spaces. However, Tower can influence usage through requirements on the design of tenant space. Tower raises the bar on lighting and water efficiency through lease language, requiring a 16% improvement over the local lighting codes and a 30% improvement in plumbing fixture efficiency over current building performance.

Learn more here.


3. USAA Building Upgrade CalculatorUSAA Building Upgrade Calculator

The USAA Real Estate Company team believed they could better justify and support investments in efficiency projects if they could convert the expected results of the improvements and retrofits into meaningful metrics for financial decision makers. For this reason, USAA Real Estate Company created an Excel–based analysis tool to help their property managers evaluate the financial returns of energy performance projects in investor–owned real estate.

Learn more here.


4. General Mills: Cedar Rapids Heat RecoveryGeneral Mills: Cedar Rapids Heat Recovery

General 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. In four years, the plant has achieved energy savings of 13 percent, and is currently implementing a comprehensive, $1.5 million heat recovery project that will reduce the plant's energy intensity by an additional 5 percent.

Learn more here.


5. Legrand: Employee Engagement Through Innovative Marathon

As part of its efforts to drive greater energy savings through employee engagement and behavior change, Legrand North America conducted its first Energy Marathon, an organization wide contest to see which of its 18 North American sites could reduce electric usage the most over a 26.2 day period. This effort built upon a one–day “Power Down Day” Legrand held in 2012, which challenged sites to aim for the lowest possible energy consumption in a single day. Through the marathon, Legrand's sites recorded an average reduction in electricity consumption of 15.4%, which is equivalent to about 400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and almost $50,000 in cost savings.

Learn more here.


6. Kohl's Energy Finance Strategy

Kohl's Energy team wanted to implement energy efficiency measures with targeted, predefined payback periods across the chain. Over two years, the Energy team executed several “low–hanging fruit” energy efficiency projects that resulted in monetary savings for the organization, and attracted the interests of Kohl's Finance Department. Building on this positive attention, Kohl's strengthened the relationship between the Finance and the Energy teams by embedding members of the company's Finance Department into the Energy team. This expedited the communication of financial benefit and the approval of energy efficiency projects.

Learn more here.


7. Walgreens: Net Zero Energy Retail StoreNorth Lincoln Homes in Denver, Colorado

As part of Walgreens' robust energy efficiency program for existing buildings LED lighting, HVAC retrofits, cooler door retrofits, and energy management systems are often installed or upgraded. At the Evanston store, Walgreens has incorporated the best practices from all of these efforts in its first net zero energy retail store. The store produces 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.

Learn more here.



8. Michigan State University: Erickson HallMichigan State University: Erickson Hall

Michigan State University achieved annual energy savings of 41% and cost savings of $307,000 after improvements were made to Erickson Hall. A number of energy conservation measures were implemented, including sealing openings in architectural supply–air plenums, improving air ventilation methods, and more. Upgrades to the building's HVAC system were also installed.Learn more here.




9. Hilton: Columbus DowntownHilton Columbus Downtown

The Hilton Columbus Downtown, located in the heart of the city near Ohio State University contains 32,000 square feet of event space, a 160–seat full–service restaurant and bar, a fitness center, and an indoor pool and whirlpool. The property features a number of energy conservation measures 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 90.1 200.

Learn more here.


10. Alcoa: Questionnaire Screens Capital Projects for Energy WasteAlcoa: Questionnaire Screens Capital Projects for Energy Waste

As part of its planning process for new capital projects greater than $2 million, Alcoa developed a comprehensive energy efficiency questionnaire to help employees identify opportunities for energy savings and avoid locking in energy waste when purchasing long–lived capital assets. The questionnaire covers everything from project and equipment layout to the project's primary energy source. For example, the questionnaire asks if equipment is arranged to minimize energy use based on several metrics, including if it utilizes gravity instead of pumping and whether it uses outside air for cooling.Learn more here.