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Top Solutions of 2020

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jan 14, 2021
Top 10

As we move into 2021, we are excited to share the most-viewed resources on the Better Buildings Solution Center from the past year. We’ve gathered the 10 most popular partner solutions and the 10 most popular toolkits from 2020 – check out the ones you may have missed!

Jump to Toolkits


1. InterContinental Hotels Group: Green Engage™ Sustainability Platform

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a Better Buildings Alliance partner, created the IHG Green Engage™ system to manage its energy, water, and waste reduction efforts in a global, franchised business environment. The platform allows hotels to track, measure, and report on their carbon footprint and utility consumption and offers more than 200 ‘Green Solutions’ with detailed technical guidance that hotels can employ on-site to achieve greater sustainability. Green Engage can help hotels save up to 25% – about $90,000 – annually on energy. Read more.

2. New York City Housing Authority: 344 East 28th Street

To address energy conservation 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 37% annual energy savings and nearly $114,000 in cost savings. Read more.

3. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: John Ferraro Building

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, a Better Plants Challenge partner, implemented several energy and water efficiency upgrades to the 50-year-old 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.

4. Ford Motor Company: Go Green Dealership Program

Better Plants Challenge partner Ford Motor Company launched a national Go Green Sustainability Program that helped identify potential average annual savings of $33,000 in participating Ford dealerships, equating to a 27% reduction in energy use. Participating dealerships receive a comprehensive energy assessment with recommendations for energy-saving upgrades. Dealerships that implement the recommendations receive technical support from Ford and can be eligible for recognition. Read more.

5. Celanese Corporation: Chemical Plant Improves 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.

6. Schneider Electric: Integrated Building Management Tool

The EcoStruxure Building Advisor tool, developed by Better Plants Challenge partner Schneider Electric, uses inputs from building management systems and connected devices and applies analytics to make recommendations to technical support staff and management for opportunities to reduce maintenance costs, increase comfort, and save energy. Read more.

7. General Electric's Operations Management Leadership Program

To supplement its efforts identifying, analyzing, and implementing energy efficiency opportunities at thousands of locations with diverse operations, Better Plants Challenge partner General Electric (GE) leveraged its Operations Management Leadership Program to accelerate the development of entry-level talent and produce leaders capable of meeting operational, supply chain, manufacturing, and quality functions challenges. Through the program, GE has identified over $6 million in energy savings opportunities, shared numerous best practices, and developed a leadership team better prepared to identify and address energy efficiency opportunities. Read more.

8. The Tower Companies: Installing Rooftop Solar on a 1960s Multifamily High-Rise

Better Buildings Challenge partner The Tower Companies installed a 122-kW rooftop solar PV system at a 75,000-square-foot apartment complex in Silver Spring, Maryland. Tower internally funded the project through a direct purchase ownership model, which is expected to yield a 100% after-tax payback in the first year and an internal rate of return of 30% over 20 years. The solar PV installation is estimated to produce 150,000 kWh annually, enough to power the equivalent of 75 apartments. Read more.

9. Citizen Energy: Efficiency-as-a-Service in Multifamily Properties – Owner vs. Tenant-Occupied

Better Buildings Financial Ally Citizen Energy completed lighting upgrade projects at two multifamily properties using an efficiency-as-a-service financing solution. Despite the variance in ownership structures, efficiency-as-a-service worked for each property, resulting in cumulative annual savings of $93,000. Read more.

10. AT&T, Redaptive Efficiency-as-a-Service Program

Better Buildings Financial Ally Redaptive partnered with AT&T to implement energy efficiency measures at nearly 650 facilities using an efficiency-as-a-service financing solution, resulting in nearly $20 million in annual energy cost savings. By integrating its platform with AT&T Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, Redaptive is better able to implement energy-efficient building equipment that reduces energy costs for the customer. This includes LED lighting, advanced submeters, and smart irrigation systems. Read more.



1. Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) Toolkit

This collection of resources enables state and local communities to benefit from the experience of partners who have successfully established and implemented performance contracting. It includes best practices and innovative approaches that states, cities, and K-12 schools have used. Users can easily find the information they need at each stage of their ESPC decision-making process. Read more.

2. Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities (CELICA) Toolkit

Low-income households spend about 8% of their income on energy costs, three times more than average. Better Buildings Accelerator partners committed $335 million to help 155,000 low-income households access energy efficiency and renewable energy benefits, collecting resources and lessons learned into the CELICA Toolkit. The toolkit includes a guide to program development and replicable program models for single-family and multifamily housing, as well as community solar. Read more.

3. 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.

4. Wastewater Energy Management Toolkit

Municipal wastewater treatment systems in the U.S. consume approximately 30 billion kWh annually, and their operations are typically the largest energy users in a community. This toolkit enables water resource recovery facilities to improve their energy efficiency, providing best practices and innovative approaches successfully used by wastewater facilities to establish and implement energy management plans. It is based on the work of DOE's Better Buildings Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFt) Accelerator. Read more.

5. Finance and Resilience Toolkit for Commercial Buildings

Research shows that resilience and financial performance are closely linked. This toolkit includes resources and case studies to help commercial building owners develop a plan for measuring, managing, and mitigating resilience risk to help preserve the value of their properties, protect occupants, and attract investment. Read more.

6. Efficiency-as-a-Service Toolkit

Efficiency-as-a-service (EaaS) is a pay-for-performance, off-balance sheet financing solution that allows customers to implement energy and water efficiency projects with no upfront capital expenditure. It is a relatively new financing mechanism, in which customers pay a provider for the service of energy savings. This toolkit provides resources and case studies for building owners, operators, and occupants who may want to take advantage of EaaS for energy and water projects. Read more.

7. Smart Energy Analytics Campaign Toolkit

With analytic software applied to everyday building operations, owners are using data to their advantage and realizing cost savings through improved energy management. This toolkit collects the best resources from DOE’s Smart Energy Analytics Campaign to help facility owners and managers take advantage of savings opportunities and performance improvements from energy management information systems (EMIS) and ongoing monitoring practices. Read more.

8. High-Efficiency RTU Replacement Toolkit

This toolkit helps HVAC contractors and service companies work with their customers through a step-by-step process of evaluating and managing their inventory of rooftop units (RTUs) and how to evaluate the business case for high-efficiency replacements. From an incentives database to a comparison calculator, the toolkit provides everything needed to make an informed decision regarding RTU replacements. Read more.

9. High-Efficiency Interior Lighting Toolkit

This toolkit helps facility owners and managers of commercial buildings take advantage of savings opportunities from high-efficiency interior lighting solutions. It features tools and resources from DOE's Interior Lighting Campaign, including guidance, fact sheets, reports, case studies, product search tools, and more. Read more.

10. Laboratory Energy Use Reduction Toolkit

This toolkit provides guidance and strategies for reducing energy consumption in laboratories. Resources include technical guidance and reports, a laboratory freezer specification, and detailed case studies of successful efforts to implement “Smart Labs” and other energy management programs. Read more.