State Government

State Government

State government buildings alone consume 1.1 quadrillion Btus each year, and have the potential to save $2.1 billion annually through a 20% improvement (U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2016). Conserving energy in their buildings enables states to shift funds spent on utilities to other public priorities and demonstrate good stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

The Better Buildings Webinar Series

Dedicated to bringing you the latest actionable insights on today's energy efficiency landscape, the webinar series is a chance to explore the topics and trends that affect your organization with industry experts and your peers.

COVID-19 Resource Center

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for building owners, plant managers, and employees. Better Buildings has collected resources from partners, affiliates, and other organizations that may prove useful.

2020 Summit Presentations are Live

Recordings, slides, and transcripts from the 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit sessions are now available online. Revisit your favorite sessions from our Virtual Leadership Symposium, or catch one you may have missed.

Featured Solutions

The William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School underwent an energy efficiency upgrade to improve the lighting, ventilation, and building control systems. As a result, the school is expected to realize a building energy savings of 37% and an annual cost savings of $147,000.
State Government Meet-Up 2019 Better Buildings Summit
This year fellow states and experts discussed effective frameworks for making energy efficiency "business as usual." Attendees broke out into small groups to discuss specific suggestions on how to support those frameworks via policy and action.
The State of Maryland renovated the Western Maryland Railway Station to address occupant comfort issues which resulted in a 21% annual energy savings and an annual cost savings of $12,100.

Other Resources

Implementation Models

With tight budgets and limited internal capacity to manage energy and water usage, the State of North Carolina formed the Utility Savings Initiative to manage and reduce energy and water consumption at state-owned buildings. Through state investment and private performance contracts, the initiative has avoided nearly $553 million in utility costs.
Minnesota delivers technical, financial, and contractual assistance to state agencies to support the implementation of Energy Savings Performance Contracting. GESP is available as a resource to all state agencies, local governments, and school districts in Minnesota.
Delaware established a centralized benchmarking and tracking database to identify and mobilize building upgrades with the highest potential energy savings, cost savings, and environmental benefit, leading to more than 17% energy reduction.
Maryland designed a lead-by-example competition to mobilize the largest energy-consuming state agencies; reducing energy consumption by nearly 20% in five years.
Massachusetts created the Clean Energy Investment Program (CEIP) to invest in projects using bond funding that is repaid from the generated energy savings. This innovative financing model allows capital spending on energy projects without impacting the state’s debt limits.
New York created BuildSmart NY, a state-led initiative to centralize state building energy management, set a blueprint for action, and provide project technical assistance and support. The initiative reported 4.3% energy savings statewide, representing a cost
Rhode Island established the principle of Least Cost Procurement, which requires their primary utility to invest in energy efficiency first; securing energy efficiency investments, reducing energy bills, and creating jobs as a result.

Showcase Projects

Massachusetts' Hogan/Wrentham Comprehensive Energy Project reduced energy use at participating sites by 41% and lowered energy bills by more than $2.5 million annually through lighting, high-efficiency motors, enhanced controls, upgrades to the power and steam plants, renewables, and more.
Delaware's Carvel State Office Building implemented energy efficiency initiatives including building automation system upgrades, premium efficiency motor installations, and upgraded lighting, plus water savings projects, and more. Together, these combined improvements helped Delaware achieve $244,000 in annual cost savings.
Randolph Community College, located in North Carolina, 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. The new energy-efficient laboratory amassed 36% annual energy savings and an annual cost savings of $35,000.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) partnered with the energy service company Ameresco to conduct an investment-grade audit of campus facilities that identified potential energy efficiency measures (EEMs), including lighting system improvements, air handling repairs, boiler replacements, and more. EEMs implemented at the University are expected to result in 42% annual energy savings.
The William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School underwent an energy efficiency upgrade to improve the lighting, ventilation, and building control systems. As a result, the school is expected to realize a building energy savings of 37% and an annual cost savings of $147,000.
Massachusetts achieved 42% energy savings as a result of upgrades to the high pressure heating system at the 28-building campus at the North Central Correctional Institute at Gardner which previously relied on #6 fuel oil for heat and hot water.
The City of Bemidji, MN, utilized a citywide Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) to upgrade eight of the city’s buildings plus the wastewater treatment plant and streetlights, saving 14% in energy use and $119,000 annually.
North Carolina was able to annually save $77,000 and reduce energy consumption by 12% by repairing and replacing various HVAC components at this NC State laboratory.
The State of Maryland renovated the Western Maryland Railway Station to address occupant comfort issues which resulted in a 21% annual energy savings and an annual cost savings of $12,100.

Solutions at a Glance

This tool provides an interactive and visual representation of possible approaches and decisions that will typically be encountered in upgrading/replacing a public outdoor lighting system.
This flowchart walks users through questions corresponding to the considerations that go into deciding on the financing options available for state and city government ESPC projects.  The tool includes a mini-glossary with an explanation of each financing type included.
In the face of limited budget and staff, The State of Montana created a virtual technical assistant tool to help state and local practitioners of energy savings perforance contracting (ESPC). The tool includes step-by-step instructions for implementing ESPC, links to needed resources, and other guidance.
This tool helps municipalities determine if an LED conversion is feasible. It identifies the advantages (and/or disadvantages) of changing street light ownership structure by estimating the cost over time for purchasing a utility-owned street lighting system and converting it to LED energy-efficient lighting.

Toolkits

The Energy Data Accelerator Toolkit is a collection of resources enabling other utilities and communities to learn and benefit from the work of the Accelerator, specifically on how to gain data needed for benchmarking.
This toolkit provides guidance on understanding the numerous strategies for reducing plug and process load (PPL) energy consumption in your buildings, including how to select the right strategy for devices, building types, and occupant needs to maximize energy savings.
This toolkit offers FAQ's, decision guides, and contract templates to help commercial building owners evaluate installing solar PV, including guidance on mounting rooftop PV systems and financing projects.
The latest high-efficiency alternatives with energy-saving controls—including light-emitting diode (LED), induction, and fluorescent technology options—can save building owners over 40 percent on their parking lot lighting bills.
This toolkit provides resources for upgrading facility lighting to high-efficiency troffers, which can provide energy and cost savings from 15-45% on a one-for-one basis, and up to 75% with the use of controls.
This toolkit provides information and resources on traditional and specialized financing mechanisms to help overcome upfront costs and other financing barriers.
This tool includes several resource templates that help users cultivate the elected and administrative ESPC stakeholders throughout the jurisdiction with responsibility for supporting and approving ESPC projects. Specifically, the tool includes suggestions for stakeholders to target, sample messaging based on stakeholder function, and frequency and type of contact that will maintain a permanent ESPC network.
This tool includes several resource templates that help users bring together facility managers and other energy efficiency representatives in their state/local agencies as the on-the-ground ESPC project developers and advocates. Specifically, the tool includes suggestions for how to assemble and motivate the champions team, step-by-step instructions for how individual champions can develop and bring ESPC projects to fruition, and tools for maintaining the champions corps.
The main cost associated with LED street light conversion is the upfront capital outlay, which can be significant. Financing options range from traditional municipal bonding to investor owned utility programs, and third party financing.  Many organizations combine several of these options to develop the optimal financing package for their LED conversion.
Street light retrofits often considered “low-hanging fruit” in pursuit of energy efficiency goals is still difficult to achieve in some areas due to multiple streetlight ownership, perceptions of new technology risks, and utility tariffs that have not kept up with the speed of technology developments. The following resources explain the utility rate making process and the LED conversion cost considerations from the municipal end user’s perspective as well as that of the electric utility company. Common approaches to working with utilities on a LED-based tariff are outlined in the Decision Tree Tool and several solution options are explained in the Outdoor Lighting and Solutions Pathway report.
The Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities Accelerator (CELICA) Toolkits provides materials to help energy efficiency and renewable energy program administrators reduce energy burdens for low-income communities by enhancing and expanding upon work funded through utility, state, or federal programs. 
Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) developed a Comprehensive Maintenance Plan to remotely monitor and control school building operations, which has helped AACPS to improve portfolio-wide energy performance by 12%.
EMIS gives property owners and managers the ability to see their energy use and take action to reduce waste. This toolkit gives an introduction to EMIS.
The ESPC Toolkit is a collection of resources that will enable state and local communities to learn and benefit from the work of the ESPC Accelerator. It includes the best practices and innovative approaches that states, cities, and K-12 schools have used to successfully establish and implement performance contracting.

Videos

This is a video demonstration of the Street Lighting Acquisition Evaluation Tool, which estimates the cost and ROI for street lighting acquisitions. 
This training is geared towards state and local governments establishing support and services for ESPC as the go-to project financing mechanism in their jurisdictions.
This training features practical tips for carrying out an ESPC project.
This training is geared towards practitioners considering ESPC for their energy efficiency projects and includes tools for making this decision and establishing the conditions for ESPC.
Most buildings today use a lot of energy -- to keep the lights on, cool the air, heat water, and power personal devices. Even installing solar systems will not significantly counter the heavy energy load. There are, however, some buildings that strike a balance; or even tip the scales the other way!
The Better Buildings Public Sector Partners have contributed to solutions that invigorate energy efficiency in the built environment. Following in the footsteps of the Energy Data Accelerator (EDA), two recent efforts, known as the Energy Savings...
This webinar includes tips on how to share facility level data quickly and easily with DOE, and examples of how partners have leveraged this data sharing and review to make an impact in their organizations.
Better Buildings Challenge SWAP Season 2 premieres this November – the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy are about to get seriously energy efficient.
On May 26, 2016, the Energy Department announced a partnership with CoStar Group, Inc. to expand visibility of energy-efficient buildings in the U.S. real estate marketplace. This video explains the impact of this partnership and supporting statements from the Institute of Market Transformation, California Energy Commission, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, as well as Costar and the Energy Department.
United Technologies, the City of Atlanta, and InterContinental Hotels share innovative measures they have taken to improve water efficiency while reducing energy use.
This webinar session briefly reviewed some of the lessons learned by early adopters of networked outdoor lighting control systems over the course of multiple pilot projects, with a focus on the following topics: justifying and financing an installation, writing a specification, start-up and commissioning challenges, dimming and energy savings, monetizing energy savings and utility tariffs, and identifying and qualifying additional value propositions.
This webinar describes how the DOE helps move energy efficiency opportunities in buildings from ideas to mass-market uptake by identifying and developing high impact technologies.
View this webinar and learn about interior lighting, with a focus on troffers and how new technology can significantly reduce energy use in higher education spaces.
Your plug and process loads could be a treasure trove of efficiency opportunities. Watch this webinar to learn about strategies and resources for reducing plug load energy use in your buildings. With the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. General Services Administration and Stanford University.
Think you are not an IT company? Think again. Watch this webinar to learn how Better Buildings Challenge and Accelerator partners have formed partnerships within their organizations and implemented measures to dramatically reduce data center energy usage.
Re-tuning is a low-cost process to identify and correct building operational problems that lead to energy waste. To expand the practice of re-tuning, DOE and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a curricula focused on retuning both large and small commercial buildings. Hear from Better Buildings Challenge Partners who have employed retuning training to improve building performance and learn about opportunities to participate in trainings in your area.
Time, money, and expertise are often barriers to a robust energy management program. Better Buildings Challenge Partners Shorenstein and Allegheny College described solutions that helped them jump these hurdles to develop a culture of sustainability within their organizations—and a track record of successful energy efficiency projects.
Could deep energy retrofits be right for your buildings? In this webinar Carlos Santamaria of Glenborough and Cara Carmichael of the Rocky Mountain Institute discussed best practices and their experiences implementing deep energy retrofits.
A little rivalry goes a long way when it comes to reducing building energy use through behavior change. In this webinar, Better Buildings Challenge Partner City of El Paso and Better Buildings Better Plants Partner Legrand shared their experiences leveraging friendly competitions to drive building energy efficiency within their organizations.
In this Better Buildings Webinar Series presentation, Better Buildings Challenge Partners USAA Real Estate Company; University of California, Irvine; and Kohl's shared their best practices for communicating the value of building energy efficiency projects and working with financial decision-makers to make those projects happen.
This presentation on the underlying barriers to energy data access is a part of the Better Buildings Webinar Series.

Webinars

This webinar highlighted how Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) is expanding to new sectors to impact building energy efficiency.
In this webinar, Better Buildings Challenge partners described their successful experiences with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing as program developers, city administrators, and property owners.
Getting approval for energy efficiency measures can sometimes be the most challenging aspect of the project. USAA, UC Irvine, and Kohl's shared their best practices for communicating the value of building energy efficiency projects and working with financial decision-makers to make those projects happen.
This webinar presented on the underlying barriers to energy data access. Learn about solutions underway across the country, including a successful collaboration in Philadelphia. The webinar also highlighted new resources to help you replicate this model in your community.
This webinar included a discussion by NREL on simple low-cost and portable plug and process loads interventions.
This webinar covered interior lighting with a focus on troffers and how new technology can significantly reduce energy use in higher education spaces.
This webinar described how the DOE helps move energy efficiency opportunities in buildings from ideas to mass-market uptake by identifying and developing high impact technologies.
Time, money, and expertise are often barriers to a robust energy management program. Better Buildings Challenge Partners Shorenstein and Allegheny College described solutions that helped them jump these hurdles to develop a culture of sustainability within their organizations—and a track record of successful energy efficiency projects.
This webinar session briefly reviewed some of the lessons learned by early adopters of outdoor connected lighting systems over the course of multiple pilot projects.
This webinar hosted Better Buildings Challenge partners United Technology Corporation, the City of Atlanta, and InterContinental Hotels Group on the innovative measures taken to improve water efficiency while reducing energy use.
Re-tuning is a low-cost process to identify and correct building operational problems that lead to energy waste. Better Buildings Challenge Partners who have employed retuning training covered how to improve building performance and opportunities to participate in trainings in your area.
Do you ever wonder how energy efficiency and sustainability efforts are impacting the value of your properties? This webinar focused on energy efficiency and sustainability in the appraisal and valuation industries.
Hear about the latest from DOE’s High Impact Technology (HIT) Catalyst program, and find out more about how you can engage with the Better Buildings Tech team to help you lower energy use in your building portfolio.
This webinar explained how leading partners captured stories behind savings projects to promote future projects.
This webinar detailed ways and available tools to find funding for energy efficiency projects and how to avoid common pitfalls.
This webinar highlighted how to seek out technical experts and financing options for saving energy and water while protecting your interests.
This webinar covered Zero Energy Buildings across the public and commercial sectors, and highlighted DOEs new Zero Energy focused accelerators. Participants learned from experiences of those who built ZE buildings and received an overview of the growth of ZE buildings in the US.
Treating wastewater can be very energy intensive; learn how doing the job on-site can improve the efficiency of wastewater treatment collection systems and reduce costs.
Energy storage is a broad category of technologies with many different capabilities that can be daunting to sift through and find the best opportunities. In this webinar, attendees will get an overview of energy storage technologies, use cases, business models, and how it can help you manage energy spend. 
This webinar highlighted tips on how to share facility-level data quickly and easily with DOE, and examples of how partners have leveraged this data sharing and review to make an impact in their organizations.
The Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) Accelerator and the Outdoor Lighting Accelerator (OLA), concluded after three years of developing solutions to market barriers, identifying both innovative and proven approaches, and creating toolkits that offer a wide array of resources. This webinar highlighted key accomplishments, introduced resulting toolkits, and discussed the application of the toolkit to current projects. 
This webinar highlighted the National Laboratories and how your organization can work with them to enhance your energy efficiency.
This webinar explained why small data centers shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency, and how low-cost, high-win strategies can reduce energy demand.
This webinar featured state, local, and commercial sector partners sharing best practices on energy data management, and also introduced DOE's Energy Data Management Guide.
This training features practical tips for carrying out an ESPC project.
This training is geared towards state and local governments establishing support and services for ESPC as the go-to project financing mechanism in their jurisdictions.
This training addressed how to introduce ESPC to market sectors that lack familiarity or experience with the mechanism, and includes a summary of successful results achieved by several Accelerator partners.
This training is geared towards practitioners considering ESPC for their energy efficiency projects and includes tools for making this decision and establishing the conditions for ESPC.

Additional Information

Sector Citations

Savings highlighted in the introductory blurb are from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) 2016 CBECS Survey. Here is a link to the table that the savings figures were drawn from - https://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/data/2012/c&e/cfm/c1.php.

Sector Priorities

Meet the Sector Committee Chair