Better Buildings - U.S. Department of Energy





The Better Buildings Bulletin keeps you up to date on partner successes, program updates, opportunities to participate, and more. View the Bulletin online.

In This Issue

Latest News and Announcements

2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit Transitioning to a Virtual Leadership Symposium, June 8-11

Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is virtually conducting the 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit, originally set to take place in Arlington, Virginia. The Summit will now be a series of timely webinars and peer exchanges throughout June 8 -11. We are also excited to announce we are including an Opening Plenary on Monday, June 8. All virtual meetings will be free to attend. View the schedule and register here.

Energy Department Recognizes Chesapeake College for Energy Efficiency Leadership

DOE recognized Better Buildings 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. View photos on the Beat Blog.

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Cotti Foods Corporation (Wendy's franchisee)
  • Fort Worth Independent School District (TX)
  • Morehouse College

Better Buildings Alliance

  • Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Better Plants Challenge

  • Alexandria Renew Enterprises

Better Plants

  • Fort Wayne City Utilities – City of Fort Wayne, IN
  • Vitro Flat Glass

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • Liberty Custom Home Builders

New Partner Solutions

The following Solutions-at-a-Glance demonstrate the hard work and innovative thinking of Better Buildings partners. Check out these replicable solutions and others in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

New Solutions-at-a-Glance

Centrica Business Solutions: Public and Private Funding for City Microgrid

Centrica Business Solutions, Connecticut Green Bank, and other organizations partnered to deliver a cogeneration system to Bridgeport, Connecticut at no upfront cost to the city. The system features chilled and thermal water loops, controls systems, and underground piping for a microgrid to power key municipal buildings.

Chesapeake College: On-Campus Solar Energy and Storage

Chesapeake College has reduced its annual energy consumption while increasing campus resilience through the college’s partnership with its utility. The school secured a power purchase agreement for a 1.8 megawatt (MW) ground and carport-based solar photovoltaic (PV) installation. This partnership has since grown to include a battery storage and partial campus microgrid project.

Schneider Electric: EcoStruxure Building Advisor

The EcoStruxure Building Advisor tool 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 optimize energy.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars

Better Buildings Webinar Series

View the full Better Buildings Webinar schedule here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Finance + Resilience Initiative Part 1: Building the Financial Business Case for Resilience

Part one of this two-week mini-series will highlight how commercial building owners can build the financial case for resilience, best practices for measuring financial risk, and strategies for managing insurance cost and business risk.

Register here

Tuesday, April 28, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Finance + Resilience Initiative Part 2: Taking Action to Improve Resilience and Disclose Performance

Part two of this mini-series will focus on different mechanisms for financing resilience projects, reporting frameworks for disclosing resilience performance, and pulling everything together into a resilience risk management plan.

Register here

Tuesday, May 12, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Get Smart (Labs): Results from the Smart Labs Accelerator

This webinar will highlight best practices for developing a Smart Labs Program and feature results from partners who participated in the three-year Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator.

Register here

Technology Webinars

Thursday, April 16, 2020: 1 - 2 p.m. ET
Smart Lab Webinar Series: New Methods to Test Performance of Modern Fume Hoods and High-Performance Airflow Systems

The Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator has partnered with I2SL for a series of webinars on smart laboratories. This webinar will describe new methods to test, manage, and maintain variable air volume fume hoods and modern high-performance airflow systems to achieve safe, energy-efficient, and sustainable laboratories.

Register here

Tuesday, April 28, 2020: 1 - 2 p.m. ET
Renewables Integration Technology Research Team Call

The Better Buildings Renewables Integration Team will discuss utility rate structures and their effects on continuous demand management in commercial buildings. Learn about the obstacles and opportunities facing utilities and building owners seeking to implement solutions for more grid-interactive efficient buildings.

Register here

Thursday, May 14, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
The Impact of the Coronavirus on Residential Energy Efficiency Programs: Perspectives from the Field

This Better Buildings Residential Network Peer Exchange Call will explore how energy efficiency companies are facing business and operational challenges posed by COVID-19.

Register here

Wednesday, May 20, 2020: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Smart Energy Analytics Campaign Spring 2020 Award Winners

The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign recognizes exemplary efforts in the implementation of energy management and information systems (EMIS). These are the final awards in the campaign, so join us to learn how the recipients successfully implemented building analytics through their EMIS in a wide variety of building types, saving energy and moving from reactive to proactive maintenance.

Pre-registration is not required. To join the webinar, click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Opportunities for ESPCs in Data Centers

This webinar will present an overview of opportunities for using energy savings performance contracts (ESPC) as a mechanism to finance energy improvements in data centers and explain why data centers are uniquely positioned and well-suited for ESPCs.

Register here

Thursday, May 28, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Is the Smart Home Delivering on Its Promises?

Join this Better Buildings Residential Network Peer Exchange Call to discuss the smart home concept and smart technologies generally; the call will explore the results being delivered in the real world.

Register here

Thursday, June 11, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Your Home is Your Health: Measures and Data

Join the Better Buildings Residential Network for a look at which energy efficiency measures can most effectively improve the health of a home and dive into the data behind those recommendations.

Register here

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Partners in the News

Denver Pilot Demonstrates Homeowner Desire for Home Energy Info

Denver piloted DOE's Home Energy Score™ for 18 months and the response from homeowners was overwhelmingly positive. Just like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the score provides comparable and credible information about a home's energy efficiency. The majority of participating Denver homeowners believe that their Home Energy Score report will help them save energy and money.

Multifamily Partners Expand Solar for Affordable Housing with Innovative Financing Model

Better Buildings Challenge multifamily partners are challenging the misperception that solar power is an amenity reserved for middle- and upper-income households. Using an innovative financing model championed by NHT Communities called “portfolio-level solar,” six challenge partners have installed 8.4 MW of solar PV in affordable multifamily properties.

Interior Lighting Campaign Saves $85 Million in Energy Costs; Spurs New Focus on Integrated Lighting

Through DOE’s Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC), participants have replaced more than 3.5 million lighting systems, cumulatively saving roughly 800 million kWh of electricity per year (approximately the energy used by 80,000 U.S. homes) and $85 million in energy costs. The 2015 – 2019 ILC outcomes report distills the results and lessons learned.

Recent news articles featuring Better Buildings partners are listed below.

For a full listing, please visit the Better Buildings Partners in the News page.

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New Resources

Electrical Power Chain Tool for Data Centers

The updated Power Chain Tool from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Center of Expertise for Energy Efficiency in Data Centers allows users to calculate energy efficiency opportunities in their facilities.

Optimizing Solar PV for Longevity

The performance of solar PV systems for any building owner can be optimized throughout their 20- to 30-year lifespans by conducting proper operations and maintenance (O&M). This online resource from the Federal Energy Management Program offers an overview of PV performance, how to measure it, and how to optimize it with an O&M plan.

REopt Lite™ Tutorial Videos

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created a series of short tutorial videos for its REopt Lite tool, which allows users to evaluate the economic viability of grid-connected PV, wind, and battery storage at a site.

Better Buildings Alliance: What's New

Case Study: Office Building Plug Load Disaggregation

With thousands of devices in today’s large buildings, individually monitoring every plug load becomes a nontrivial task. To address this, researchers at NREL proposed a method for combining a limited amount of smart plug metering with a device inventory to develop a disaggregated breakdown of device-level power consumption.

Coming Soon: The Integrated Lighting Campaign

The Integrated Lighting Campaign is a new DOE effort designed to help facility owners and managers take advantage of savings opportunities and benefits of integrating lighting systems with other building and business systems in their facilities. Scheduled to launch in 2020, the campaign will serve as a resource for relevant research regarding new advanced lighting controls and integrated lighting systems and recognize exemplary projects from participants.

Overview: Key Hospitality Resources

This overview collects Better Buildings resources and tools for the hospitality sector to help partners capitalize on energy efficiency opportunities.

Toolkit: Upgrade Your Interior Lighting to High-Efficiency Solutions

This toolkit collects tools and resources – including guidance, fact sheets, case studies, and product search tools – to help facility owners and managers take advantage of savings opportunities from high-efficiency interior lighting solutions.

In case you missed it: Better Buildings Webinars on Demand

Explore more on-demand Better Buildings webinars here.

Building Value: How Energy Efficiency Impacts Mortgages and More (March 3, 2020)

This webinar addressed the financial impact of energy performance and provided attendees with information used to assess energy and climate risk in portfolios.

Addressing the Envelope: Recognizing Building Enclosure Improvements (February 19, 2020)

This webinar highlighted the design and rollout of the newest Better Buildings recognition campaign for achievements in adopting high-performance building envelope technologies. 

Improving Cooling Tower System Efficiency with Alternative Water Treatment Strategies (February 14, 2020)

This Space Conditioning Technology Research Team call highlighted recent research related to improving efficiency and longevity of cooling tower systems through various water treatment technologies.

Better Buildings Residential Network

DOE Selects 40 New Ventures to Reimagine "ABCs" of Building Construction

DOE awarded $26.3 million to 40 competitively selected projects to pursue innovations that can advance the goals of the agency’s Advanced Building Construction (ABC) Initiative; ABC is an effort to unlock deeper energy savings in the U.S. building sector through energy-efficient technologies and practices in building construction.

Archived Peer Exchange Calls/Lessons Learned

Review past peer exchange calls from the Better Buildings Residential Network. Recent topics include:

Key takeaways from these presentations are outlined in one-page "lessons learned" fact sheets. View the latest fact sheets and the full archive here.

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Is There Something We Missed?

Tell us! We want to promote partner successes in our newsletters, emails, social media, and of course the Beat Blog. You can reach us at:

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