Each month we recap the most viewed solutions shared by Better Buildings partners. Check out September's Top-10 solutions below.
1. Energy Data Access: Blueprint for Action Toolkit
The Better Buildings Energy Data Accelerator was a two-year partnership with cities and utilities to improve energy efficiency by making energy data more accessible to building owners. As a result of best practices developed by the EDA, 18 utilities serving more than 2.6 million commercial customers nationwide will provide whole-building energy data access to building owners by 2017. The resulting toolkit describes the best practices that enabled cities, utilities, and other stakeholders to overcome whole-building data access barriers. Read more.
2. Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator: Decision Tree Tool
Municipalities, states, and public and federal agencies are continuously looking 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.
3. LINC Housing Implementation Model: Replicable and Scalable Near-Zero Net Energy Retrofits for Low-Income Housing
To strengthen its commitment to sustainability, in 2012 LINC Housing formed SEED Partners, a mission-driven energy and water services company. SEED is focused on sustainable retrofits of LINC’s expanding portfolio, development of renewable energy projects, and enhancing the features of LINC’s properties under development. SEED also offers consulting services to help other owners with retrofitting their portfolio. Read more.
4. 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.
5. Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Showcase Project: South Campus Energy Project
CCAC cut its water use by 38 percent and its energy use by 44 percent by making upgrades to its South Campus, one of four campuses located throughout Allegheny County. Opened in 1973 with later additions, the one-building campus houses traditional college classrooms and laboratories, as well as a theater for both student and community productions, radio station, gym and fully equipped fitness center, library, media and computer centers, and state-of-the-art nursing and allied health laboratories. The six-story structure is surrounded by open grounds which include parking areas, a nature trail, and a community garden. This facility was the largest single energy user in the entire CCAC system, and the HVAC system was maintenance-intensive. Read more.
6. Toolkit: Implement Energy Management Information Systems in your Building Portfolio
Energy management Information Systems (EMIS) are a relatively new technology based on the old adage "you can't manage what you don’t measure." EMIS gives property owners and managers the ability to see their energy use and take action to reduce waste. This tool kit introduces where to begin. Read more.
7. City of Milwaukee, WI Implementation Model: 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. Read more.
8. Tower Companies Implementation Model: Leveraging Green Leases to Reduce Energy and Water Use
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. Read more.
9. USAA Implementation Model: 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. Read more.
10. Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) Showcase Project: Omnivore Co-Digestion and Recuperative Thickener
VVWRA re-commissioned a one-million gallon digester by installing a 330,000 gallon Omnivore Co-Digestion and Recuperative Thickener unit, with help from a $2 million California Energy Commission innovative technology grant. This unit can produce 150% more biogas from the digestion process that can be re-used in-lieu of natural gas in two combined heat and power (CHP) units.The Omnivore process uses approximately $78,000 per year of electricity, compared to approximately $115,000 per year for the one-million gallon digester that it replaced. That represents a saving to the VVWRA of $37,000 per year in electricity costs. Read more.