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At the annual Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced new Better Building Initiatives to help organizations in all sectors of the U.S. economy save energy while reducing costs and emissions.

 Among the new initiatives is the Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator, through which manufacturers will produce higher efficiency and life cycle cost-effective heat pump rooftop units and commercial organizations will evaluate and adopt next-generation heat pump technology. DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative is partnering with leaders in the public and private sectors to advance next-generation solutions, promote climate leadership, and support workforce development—underscoring the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to drive energy innovation, lower energy costs, and address the climate crisis. 

DOE also announced the following at the Summit today:

  • Recognizing Leadership: More than 40 organizations received Better Project, Better Practice and Climate Finance Innovator awards for their industry-leading accomplishments in decarbonization, energy and water efficiency, or waste reduction. 65 organizations were recognized as recipients of the tenth annual Green Lease Leaders awards for their leadership in leveraging green leases for the advancement of sustainability or net zero goals.  
  • New Working Groups on Decarbonization: DOE launched three new working groups for Better Climate Challenge partners focusing on central plant decarbonization, shifting to low-impact refrigerants, and financial strategies for industrial decarbonization.  
  • Sharing Successful Pathways: DOE’s Better Buildings Solution Center has been overhauled to improve navigation, functionality, and design, focusing on a new, powerful search platform to more effectively filter 3,000+ efficiency and decarbonization solutions. 
     

Read the full press release.
View the 2024 Spring Handout.
 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner Morehouse College for its achievements and leadership in energy efficiency. The Atlanta-based college, which operates more than 1.6 million square feet of building space across its 60-acre campus, has reduced its energy intensity by more than 30% since 2023, achieving its Better Buildings Challenge goal and accelerating progress towards its internal net-zero targets. Morehouse hosted DOE officials on a tour of its campus to showcase its comprehensive approach to energy efficiency. 

Morehouse implemented campus-wide LED lighting upgrades, completed HVAC controls upgrades in 11 buildings, installed efficient water fixtures, and more. The school is also deploying fault detection and analytics software campus-wide, in addition to installing electric and water submeters. Morehouse also conducts periodic energy audits and has undertaken building retro-commissioning to further increase efficiency.

New Report Recognizes Public and Private Sector Partners for Accelerating Climate Solutions and Significantly Cutting Harmful Greenhouse Gas Emissions

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today published the “2023 Better Buildings Initiative Progress Report,” which summarizes the achievements of DOE’s Better Buildings public and private sector partners since the initiative’s inception in 2011. The report shows that partnering entities, including more than 900 businesses, state and local governments, utilities, housing authorities, and other public and private organizations, to date have collectively saved $18.5 billion through efficiency improvements and cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 190 million metric tons— an amount roughly equivalent to combined annual emissions of 24 million homes. This report also includes the results of the Better Climate Challenge, an initiative that challenges major building portfolio owners and industrial partners to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% within 10 years. In year one of the Challenge, partners have reported on nearly 1 billion square feet of buildings and 1,500 industrial plants. 

“To meet President Biden’s ambitious climate goals, the public and private sector need practical pathways to reduce emissions while cutting costs—and that’s exactly what they get from DOE’s Better Building Initiative,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “We’re proud to partner with hundreds of businesses from every pocket of the nation to develop and deploy the innovative solutions we need to combat the climate crisis and secure our clean energy future.” 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri for energy efficiency achievements and leadership across its portfolio. The St. Louis-area district operates 34 buildings across a total of 3.3 million square feet and serves more than 17,000 students in grades pre-K through 12. Parkway hosted DOE for a tour of South High School to showcase its successful renewable energy measures and efficiency strategies.

Parkway has taken a comprehensive approach to improving efficiency at South High School, resulting in more than 20% annual energy savings and $100,000 annual cost savings. The district has installed a central geothermal plant and 75kW solar array and implemented building envelope upgrades, LED lighting retrofits and controls, and retro-commissioning of the school’s HVAC system.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner City of Chattanooga, Tennessee for energy efficiency leadership across more than 200 of its municipal facilities. Chattanooga hosted DOE for a tour of its Moccasin Bend Environmental Campus to showcase its successful energy, water, and cost savings measures.

Since being dubbed the “Dirtiest City in America” by Walter Cronkite in 1969, the City of Chattanooga has made significant progress reversing the negative environmental impacts of local industry. As part of this work, the city joined the Better Buildings Challenge in 2015, committing to reduce energy intensity by 20%. After reaching this goal five years ahead of schedule in 2019, Chattanooga has since achieved 36% energy intensity savings across 2 million square feet of building space from a 2013 baseline.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings, Better Plants partner Waupaca Foundry, Inc. for energy efficiency advances made in its Waupaca, Wisconsin facilities. DOE staff toured Waupaca’s Plant 1 to see firsthand examples of the efficiency innovations made throughout its portfolio.

As the world’s largest iron foundry, Waupaca melts up to 9,500 tons of iron per day. The company committed six facilities across the U.S. as an inaugural Better Plants partner and has reduced energy intensity by more than 20% to date. Since joining Better Plants, Waupaca's commitment has expanded to include decarbonization through participation in DOE's Low Carbon Pilot and Better Climate Challenge.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2022 Better Plants Progress Update. The report highlights the leadership of more than 270 manufacturers and water utilities who partner with DOE to increase energy and water efficiency. Collectively, these partners have saved $10.6 billion in energy costs, 2.2 quadrillion British thermal units (Btus) of energy, and more than 130 million metric tons of CO2.

"Decarbonizing the industrial sector is one of our great challenges,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Carolyn Snyder. “Better Plants partners are rising to the challenge and showing leadership by prioritizing energy efficiency and sharing best practices with their peers. Industrial partners save energy and money while creating good-paying jobs, strengthening our economy, and driving market innovation.”

As part of the Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants works with industrial partners to develop, implement, and share technologies and best practices to increase energy and water efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities. Partners represent every major U.S. industrial sector, comprising 14% of the domestic manufacturing footprint and 3,600 facilities across the country. Better Plants partners voluntarily pledge to reduce portfolio-wide energy intensity by 25% over 10 years. DOE works with partners to meet their goals by providing technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning, technology validation and training, and workforce development. To date, Better Plants partners have achieved more than 75 energy or water goals.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Integrated Lighting Campaign (ILC) recognized 18 organizations for leading the adoption of advanced lighting controls and integration of lighting with other building systems. This campaign is part of the Better Buildings Initiative and worked with these partners, as well as 20 recognized last year, to demonstrate that integrated lighting systems are enabling deeper energy savings in buildings and creating an enhanced user and occupant experience. Partners were recognized at the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) annual conference on August 18th, 2022.

DOE recognized the following organizations this year:

Recognized Participants

  • Yamaha Motor Corporation, Midwestern Distribution Center, Pleasant Prairie, WI 
  • Home Innovation Research Labs, Inc., Upper Marlboro, MD 
  • Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Portland, OR
  • Chicago Smart Lighting Program, Chicago, IL
  • University of Vermont, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Burlington, VT
  • MRA Group, Spring House Innovation Park
  • Vertical Harvest Farms, Jackson, WY
  • Seed Capital, Phoenix, AZ
  • Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
  • the link, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
  • Missouri Slope, New Skilled Nursing Facility, Bismarck, ND
  • Holt Public Schools, Holt, MI
  • Association of General Contractors, Seattle, WA
  • North Bakersfield Toyota, Bakersfield, CA
  • Gabus Automotive, Gabus Auto Dealership Campus, Des Moines, IA

 

Recognized Supporters
These organizations are recognized for their exemplary support and advocacy of the use of advanced lighting controls and technologies that facilitate the integration of lighting with other building systems to improve efficiency and performance.

  • McWong International, Sacramento, California
  • Puget Sound Energy, Bellevue, Washington
  • Resource Innovation Institute, Portland, Oregon

 

Read the Full U.S. Department of Energy Press Release

New Report Recognizes 12 Organizations for Achieving Energy and Water Goals; Highlights New Partners in Better Climate Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $15.3 billion in energy savings through the Better Buildings Initiative, a public-private partnership with more than 900 businesses, state and local governments, utilities, housing authorities, and other organizations across the United States pursuing ambitious energy, waste, water, and/or greenhouse gas reduction goals and sharing their solutions. These savings represent 155 million metric tons of carbon emissions, or roughly the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by 20 million homes in one year. Decarbonizing America’s building sector is a key part of President Biden’s plan to reach a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. 

“Leading companies, state and local governments, and other organizations are working with DOE’s Better Buildings program and have committed to using less energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and sharing the solutions that work,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This year’s progress report underscores the incredible impact of those commitments in decarbonizing the sectors responsible for over 35% of America’s emissions. Our partners are leading the way to a prosperous clean-energy economy and a healthier planet.” 

Since 2011, the Better Buildings Initiative has partnered with leaders in the public and private sectors to improve the energy efficiency of American homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants. Better Buildings partners commit to expanding their investments in energy-saving technologies, sharing best practices, and measuring their progress toward pre-determined goals.  

The 2022 Better Buildings Progress Report, released today during the program’s annual Summit, summarizes the achievements of Better Buildings partners, which include 36 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 10 of the top 25 U.S. employers, and more than 100 state and local governments. Together these companies represent 14% of the American manufacturing energy consumption footprint and 13% of total commercial building space.

DOE’s “Better Climate Challenge” Sets Deep Carbon Reduction Targets and Encourages Solution Sharing Across Major U.S. Companies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced a commitment from over 90 companies and organizations to reduce their carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 through DOE’s Better Climate Challenge. This national public-private partnership calls on organizations across the country to set bold, portfolio-wide greenhouse gas reduction targets and share their innovative solutions and best practices with partners and across industries. DOE will double down on these commitments by providing technical assistance and convening peer-to-peer exchanges to facilitate solution sharing across their facilities and fleets. Inaugural partners in the Better Climate Challenge include IKEA, Hilton, Harley-Davidson, the Cleveland Clinic, and the State of Maryland. Public-private partnerships like the Better Climate Challenge are key to reaching President Biden’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 through an equitable clean energy transition. 

“Companies across America are joining arms to lead the zero-carbon transition through smart, strategic climate solutions that slash building and factory emissions and significantly cut costs,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With the help of DOE, the meaningful and measurable emissions reductions of the Better Climate Challenge will save American businesses billions of dollars, create good-paying jobs, and drive innovation that strengthens the entire U.S. economy.” 

 

News Coverage:

During Scotland Visit, Sec. Granholm Launched Third Energy Earthshot, Established Major Initiatives with International Partners to Accelerate Emissions Reductions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm traveled to Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26). As a key member of the U.S. delegation, the Secretary convened a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings with her international counterparts to drive forward collaboration that will raise global climate ambition, accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation and deployment, and create millions of jobs in a clean energy economy, at home and abroad.  

In the U.S. Pavilion on the COP26 stage, the Secretary was joined by the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, to announce Net Zero World—DOE’s flagship contribution to President Biden’s Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative. Through Net Zero World, countries announced they will work with the United States in a whole-of-government approach and with DOE’s 17 national laboratories, along with private entities, to create and implement tailored, actionable technology road maps and investment strategies that put net zero within reach. 

Additional DOE announcements made at COP26 to advance climate and clean energy goals include:

  • The Better Climate Challenge— DOE is challenging companies, states, municipalities, and other organizations to commit to reducing emissions from enterprise-wide operations—that’s buildings and manufacturing—by at least 50% within 10 years. DOE will support their efforts with technical assistance and peer to peer learning to share solutions to reduce emissions from their facilities and fleets and through power purchasing decisions. This effort will build on over a decade of experience through the Better Buildings Initiative. DOE has started engaging leaders across the U.S. economy leading to 32 organizations already joining the Better Climate Challenge. Learn more.
     
  • U.S. Nuclear Technology Sales to Romania— Secretary Granholm and Romanian Minster of Energy Virgil Popescu announced a new agreement to build a “first-of-a-kind” small modular reactor (SMR) plant in Romania in partnership with U.S. NuScale Power, bringing the latest civil nuclear technology to a critical part of Europe. Learn more.
     
  • Global Clean Technology Incubator Network— DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will partner with other national labs, technical institutions, investors and corporations, governments, and philanthropies around the world to create a global network of clean energy incubators. This public-private partnership will work with entrepreneurs and corporations to scale up the development, financing, and adoption of low to zero emission clean energy innovations in emerging and developed markets. Partners from India, South Africa, Chile, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, South Korea are ready to team with U.S. counterparts on this incubator initiative. 
     
  • H2 Twin Cities Launch— H2 Twin Cities will accelerate hydrogen deployments by having regions and communities pair up and showcase best practices and lessons learned to ramp up scale. Through H2 Twin Cities, communities will partner to share ideas, mentor and learn from each other, build a community of hydrogen best practices, and strengthen global action to make environmental justice, social equity, and clean energy jobs central to hydrogen deployment. This initiative is being launched in collaboration with other countries and part of the United States’ deliverables under the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Hydrogen Initiative. 
     
  • Global Nuclear Energy Transitions and Communities— The Nuclear Energy Transitions and Communities initiative and the CEM Researching Impacts on Social Equity and Economic Empowerment (RISE3) Expert Group will accelerate the replacement of unabated coal plants with new advanced nuclear technologies through breakthrough nuclear innovations. These initiatives will provide expert resources and create a blueprint for countries transitioning to a clean and just energy economy with nuclear as a key pillar.  The initiative will focus on nuclear’s role in advancing environmental justice and equity; integrating variable renewable resources to the grid; and uplifting economies and quality of life, especially through coal plant conversions.  
     

Read the full U.S. Department of Energy Press Release

DOE is challenging companies, states, municipalities, and other organizations to set ambitious, portfolio-wide, and near-term operational greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals to demonstrate leadership and share real-world pathways to address climate change. Through the Better Climate Challenge, partners will commit to a portfolio-wide goal of at least 50% by 2030 and DOE will support their efforts with technical assistance and peer-to-peer learning to share solutions to reduce emissions from their facilities and through power purchasing decisions. This effort will build on over a decade of experience through the Better Buildings Initiative to drive portfolio-wide accountable and transparent commitments across the public and private sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the commercial, industrial, and multifamily sector, while providing whole-of-government technical assistance to help those companies/organizations meet their targets. DOE has started engaging leaders across the U.S. economy. There are already 32 organizations that have joined Better Climate Challenge. Learn more here.

 

On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Fall 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants progress update. The report highlights more than 250 manufacturers and water utilities that have introduced energy efficiency and decarbonization measures, cumulatively saving $9.3 billion in energy costs and 1.9 quadrillion British thermal units (Btus) -- more energy than the state of Wisconsin consumes in a year. The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program aims to decarbonize the industrial sector and the progress and success of its partners' achievements will help accelerate the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate goals of a net-zero economy by 2050.

“The industrial sector is one of the hardest to decarbonize, but America’s market leaders are leaning into the challenge to deliver cleaner air for all,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is helping industry partners develop, implement, and share cutting-edge technologies and practices that save energy and money, protect our environment, and increase our nation's competitiveness."

DOE’s Better Plants program partners include every major U.S. industrial sector representing almost 14% of the domestic manufacturing footprint and 3,500 facilities across the country. By joining Better Plants, partners voluntarily pledge to reduce portfolio-wide energy intensity by roughly 25% over 10 years. DOE works with partners to meet ambitious energy and sustainability goals by providing technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning, technology validation and training, and workforce development. More than 60 partner organizations have met and, in some cases, substantially exceeded the energy and water goals established by Better Plants.

According to a new report released today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Better Buildings Initiative, in collaboration with nearly 1,000 businesses, government, and other partners, saved $13.5 billion in energy costs and more than 130 million metric tons of carbon emissions in the past year—equivalent to the greenhouse gases emitted by 28.2 million vehicles in a single year. These building efficiency improvements are key to reaching President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Through Better Buildings, leading organizations across the U.S. are demonstrating their commitment to use energy more efficiently,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “In partnership with DOE, they are sharing the solutions needed to tackle our climate crisis, create jobs, and build healthy, safe, and thriving communities.”

Since 2011, the Better Buildings Initiative has partnered with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants more energy efficient by accelerating investment upgrades and products and sharing best practices.

The 2021 Better Buildings Progress Report released today outlines the progress and collaboration of Better Buildings partners, which represent more than 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as 17 federal agencies, eight national laboratories, and more than 80 states and local governments. The report also highlights the 12 organizations that achieved their Better Buildings Challenge energy, water, or financing goals in the past year.

On March 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Iron Mountain Data Centers for its commitment to energy efficiency through DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. Since joining the program in 2016, Iron Mountain met its first energy-savings goal of 20% and has now set a new goal of improving data center power usage efficiency (PUE) by 30% over a five-year period across three data centers—or nearly 600,000 square feet of built space.

Iron Mountain’s data centers operate on 100% renewable energy, and the organization achieved the first simultaneous, enterprise-wide ISO 50001 Energy Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management certifications in the industry. Iron Mountain has also joined the Better Buildings Waste Reduction Pilot as the company works to increase its landfill diversion and begin implementing net-zero waste strategies.

As a Better Buildings partner, Iron Mountain offered to share its best practices through a virtual tour of the cutting-edge energy efficiency technologies at its data centers.

Media Coverage:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the State of Maryland for energy efficiency advances made through DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. As a partner in the program, Maryland reduced its energy intensity by 20% over its 9-million-square-foot building portfolio and has now committed to another goal of 15% energy reduction across a broader portfolio of over 90 million square feet.

In a live, virtual event, Maryland staff outlined several of the state’s efficiency strategies for reaching and exceeding its Better Buildings Challenge goal. DOE and Maryland staff virtually toured the state’s Western Maryland Railway Station, a Better Buildings Showcase Project that saves 21% annually on energy costs compared to a 2016 baseline. The building serves as the headquarters of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority (CPPDA) and houses offices for elected officials and local businesses, a museum, and a park and visitor’s center.

Media Coverage: 

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the launch of the Industrial Technology Validation (ITV) pilot to validate and accelerate the adoption of cost-effective, emerging technologies with the potential to generate significant operational efficiency improvements for the U.S. industrial sector and water and wastewater treatment facilities.

“Under the Better Buildings Initiative, DOE is proud to partner with industry in support of American energy competitiveness,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “Participants are teaming with innovative technology vendors to realize significant energy savings for American businesses and consumers.”

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have cumulatively saved more than $8 billion in energy costs and 1.7 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs).

More than 235 organizations now partner with DOE through Better Plants. This year, DOE welcomed 20 new partners to the program and challenge, representing 3,200 facilities and roughly 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint. These partners come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and include Fortune 100 companies, family-owned small businesses, and water treatment organizations.

“Better Plants Partners exemplify the innovative spirit of American manufacturing,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Alex Fitzsimmons. “These partners are developing, implementing, and sharing innovative, energy-efficient practices that help their organizations save energy and money, which in turn helps the U.S. economy stay competitive.”

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced nearly $11 billion in energy-cost savings by more than 950 public and private sector organizations in DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. To date, partners have saved nearly 1.8 quadrillion British thermal units of energy, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 27 million homes in America over one year. The 2020 Better Buildings Progress Report, released at the Better Buildings, Better Plants Virtual Leadership Symposium, details partners’ progress in advancing energy productivity and highlights the 20 organizations that achieved their energy efficiency goals in the past year. DOE also recognized partners that met previous challenge goals and have set new goals to achieve even greater energy efficiency.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy also announced four new Better Buildings efforts: the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator, the Better Buildings Sustainable Corrections Infrastructure Accelerator, the Integrated Lighting Campaign, and the Building Envelope Campaign. These efforts are aimed at increasing American energy productivity; catalyzing investments in renewable energy and energy storage in public facilities; integrating advanced lighting controls in buildings; and helping building owners and managers develop more energy-efficient walls, windows, roofs, and foundations.

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner Chesapeake College for energy efficiency advances made throughout its Wye Mills, Maryland campus. The college has reduced its energy intensity by 24% since 2011, reaching its Better Buildings Challenge goal of 20% energy reduction eight years ahead of schedule. Chesapeake College has saved more than $250,000 per year in energy costs, and is committed to achieving carbon neutrality in campus operations by 2025.

While adding 20% more campus space, the college has continued to reduce energy usage through equipment upgrades, energy efficiency education programs, and new building and system operations scheduling across the 373,000-square-foot campus. The campus has made sustainability advances beyond energy efficiency as well, including campus-based and publicly-accessible recycling.

Most recently, the college completed a 1.8-megawatt solar array with 1-megawatt battery backup. Through a power purchase agreement and a partnership with the local utility, the college is developing this project into a partial campus microgrid. In times of crisis or disaster, the microgrid will allow campus buildings to serve as critical infrastructure for the regional community, providing stability and resilience.