Prioritizing Energy Efficiency to Reduce Carbon

When pursuing a decarbonization plan, DOE is encouraging partners to lead with energy efficiency. Energy not used is energy saved, making the transition to clean, renewable energy infrastructure easier. The following resources outline energy efficiency strategies to help guide organizations.

Building Performance Tools
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 
The U.S. Department of Energy developed a comprehensive suite of tools for accessing, managing, analyzing, and sharing building energy data. These resources can help organizations target energy efficiency upgrades and analyze their building stock. 

Decarbonizing HVAC and Water Heating in Commercial Buildings
This resource can be used as a starting point when conducting the technical, economic, and feasibility assessment for converting to all-electric heating solutions. The attractiveness of facility electrification will vary substantially by region, climate, utility rates, existing systems, and other factors.

Applying Energy Data Tools to Inform the Valuation of Commercial Buildings
Case Study 
This case study provides examples of how ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®, the Building Energy Asset Score, and the Building Performance Database can be incorporated into commercial real estate valuation processes to identify the effects of energy efficiency upgrades on asset value.  

Resources by Sector
Below is a selection of key resources from our Better Buildings sectors demonstrating how to prioritize and implement energy efficiency. 



For additional commercial real estate solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

Columbia Association: Decarbonization with Heat Pump Water Heaters
Columbia Association replaced a large propane water heater with two smaller heat pump water heaters to eliminate a source of on-site fossil fuel combustion and utilize a high-efficiency heat pump technology at the site. 

Iron Mountain Leverages Redaptive's Efficiency-as-a-Service Program for Energy and Carbon Reductions
Implementation Model
Iron Mountain collaborated with Redaptive in an efficiency-as-a-service product to finance energy efficiency projects, creating a flexible future cost savings program. 

For additional healthcare solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

Kaiser Permanente Pioneers California's First Medical Center Microgrid
Implementation Model
Kaiser Permanente’s Richmond Medical Center was the first hospital in California to implement a microgrid that connects renewable energy and battery storage to a pre-existing, diesel-fueled backup power system in a hospital — as a result, the center stands to save an additional 2.63 MWh of energy per year, resulting in annual savings of $394,000.

Gundersen Health System: Consolidated Services Center
Showcase Project
Gundersen Health System completed a 3-phase renovation on the Consolidated Services Center (warehouse) and office space in West Salem, Wisconsin to add solar, geothermal, and battery storage with the goal of achieving a microgrid configuration.

For additional higher education solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

UC Irvine: Empowering Managers to Help Teams Find Deep Energy Savings
Implementation Model 
UC Irvine’s empirically derived performance improvement program is both technical and behavioral and supports imagining, planning, and executing to meet big goals; unless an organization supports risk-taking, initiative, and the questioning of status-quo practices, it cannot produce exceptional results.

State of North Carolina: Randolph Community College
Showcase Project 
Randolph Community College purchased an abandoned furniture warehouse next to campus and transformed it into a state-of-the-art energy-efficient learning laboratory for continuing education programs and a curriculum and corporate training facility for the community.

For additional hospitality solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

Key Energy Resources and Tools for Hospitality
This document identifies resources and tools for the hospitality sector to help organizations capitalize on energy efficiency opportunities. 

IHG Hotels & Resorts Green Engage™ Program
Implementation Model 
IHG developed a comprehensive online sustainability management system to manage hotel energy, water, and waste reduction efforts in a global, franchised business environment.

For additional industrial sector solutions, visit the Better Plants page

General Electric Develops Operatic Management Leadership Program that Yields Big Savings
Implementation Model 
GE incorporated energy efficiency into its management training program to accelerate the development of entry-level talent into energy leadership roles. Since its launch, staff has identified 572 energy projects totaling $6.4 million in savings. 

PechaKucha on Industrial Energy Management
Presenters at this 2020 Better Buildings Summit session covered different industrial energy management topics using PechaKucha, a storytelling format based solely on images.

For additional K-12 school solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

Camas School District: Lacamas Heights Elementary Modernization
Showcase Project 
Through several efficiency upgrades to its HVAC and control systems, Camas School District's Lacamas Heights Elementary reaped an energy savings of 19% and cost savings of $11,000 annually. 

Poudre School District: Creating an Energy Efficiency Culture
Implementation Model 
Poudre School District executed a strategic outreach campaign to illustrate the value of infrastructure and efficiency upgrade projects, resulting in internal and external organizational changes in support of the upgrades. 

For additional multifamily solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

New York City Housing Authority: 344 East 28th Street
Showcase Project  
To address energy challenges faced at its 344 East 28th Street multifamily apartment complex, 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. 

Wishrock Investment Group Conducts On-Site Energy Audits Utilizing the EZ Retrofit Tool
Implementation Model  
Wishrock collected sufficient utility and building-level data to create working EZ Retrofit Tool energy models and used them to generate a statewide efficiency plan and energy performance contract scopes of work.

For additional retail, food service, and grocery solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector page

Top Energy Resources & Tools for Retail
This list provides top tools and resources recommended for the retail sector to capitalize on energy efficiency savings. 

Food Lion: Comprehensive Energy Project Planning Enables Significant Efficiency
Implementation Model 
Food Lion's strong commitment to efficient operations and sustainability has incentivized them to incorporate energy reduction projects into a comprehensive approach for corporate project proposal and planning.

For additional solutions, visit the Better Buildings sector pages for States and Local Governments.

City of Chicago: John G. Shedd Aquarium
Showcase Project     
The Aquarium has developed annual strategies and implemented sustainability and energy efficiency practices to maintain the aquarium's 24-hour operations.  

ESPC Financing Decision Tree
This flowchart walks users through questions corresponding to the considerations that go into deciding on the financing options available for state and city government energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) projects. 

State of New York: State Initiative to Coordinate Efficiency Action
Implementation Model 
New York State implemented BuildSmart NY, a state-led initiative to drive energy efficiency action across state buildings with the help of the largest state electric utility in the nation, the New York Power Authority (NYPA). As of 2015, New York recorded a 4.3% reduction in energy use, saving $20 million and 38,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Explore the Decarbonization Resource Hub