Better Buildings - U.S. Department of Energy





The Better Buildings Bulletin is a bi-monthly feature to help keep you up-to-date on partner successes, program updates, opportunities to participate, and more. To view the Bulletin online, click here.

In This Issue

Latest News and Announcements

Secretary Perry Delivers Summit Keynote—Recognizes Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge Goal Achievers and Announces Better Buildings Waste Reduction Pilot

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry kicked off the Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit by recognizing more than 20 Better Buildings and Better Plants Challenge partners and allies who achieved their energy, water, or financial goals for 2019, as well as five who recently set new Challenge goals after meeting their initial goals. The Secretary also announced the launch of the Better Buildings, Better Plants Waste Reduction Pilot and recognized 19 partners who had already joined.

DOE Recognizes Gundersen Health for Energy Efficiency Leadership

The DOE recognized Better Buildings Alliance partner Gundersen Health System at its Sparta Clinic in Wisconsin for impressive portfolio-wide energy efficiency advances. DOE representatives visited the clinic to learn more about how Gundersen was able to surpass its energy usage goals with low-energy design and renewable energy.

Energy Department Recognizes University of Virginia's Progress towards Energy Goals

DOE recognized the University of Virginia (UVA), a Better Buildings Challenge partner, for making impressive energy efficiency advances on its campus. Representatives from DOE visited UVA's Better Buildings Showcase Project, Clark Hall, to tour the building's energy and water upgrades.

Back to top

Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Citizen Energy
  • Highwoods Properties
  • Kilroy Realty
  • Pasadena Independent School District, TX

Better Plants

  • Allumaloy Metalcasting
  • Autoliv
  • Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems
  • Commercial Vehicle Group
  • Custom Glass Solutions
  • MEKRA Lang
  • Saputo Dairy Foods
  • SugarCreek Packing Co.

Better Plants Challenge

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb

Better Buildings Alliance

  • Catholic University of America

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • Building Envelope Materials
  • Ciel Power
  • Cormack Construction Management
  • Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Renewable Energy Owners Coalition of America
  • See Change Institute
  • Sonoma County Energy Independence Program

New Partner Solutions

The following Implementation Models, Showcase Projects, and 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 Implementation Models

Continuous Energy Oversight

To help provide more accurate monitoring of usage and savings, Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority in Toledo, Ohio, entered into an agreement with a third-party software provider to help obtain in-depth and continuous energy monitoring of utility data, achieving better insight into the energy performance of the Authority's portfolio.

Efficiency-as-a-Service for LED Lighting and Water Efficiency Upgrades

Manufacturer Bentley Mills partnered with Redaptive, a Better Buildings Financial Ally, to fund a facility-wide LED retrofit and install high-efficiency water fixtures using the “Efficiency-as-a-Service” model. The partnership allowed Bentley Mills to implement both sets of upgrades with no upfront capital outlay and minimal risk, as Redaptive was responsible for operations and maintenance of the new systems.

Incentivizing Energy Conservation Through Resident Engagement and Utility Allowances

Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) implemented physical building upgrades, resident education, and an energy challenge to establish a baseline for utility allowances and ease the transition of utility bill payment from property management to residents. Residents now have a better understanding of their energy consumption and can adjust behaviors in line with JPNDC's energy reduction goals.

New Showcase Projects

11-15 Cortes Street Apartments

Caritas Communities converted two 5-story row houses built in 1873 into 41 single-room occupancy units, and retrofitted the apartments with ENERGY STAR® appliances, high-efficiency boilers, new insulation, water-efficient toilets, and solar PV-ready electrical connections. The upgrades saved the property $4,000 in energy costs and 15% in energy use over the first year.

Camphora Apartments

Eden Housing's new 44-unit low-rise farmworker community has achieved net-zero electricity and LEED-H Platinum certified affordable housing status. The community is performing 80% more efficiently than the state energy code as a result of high-efficiency measures such as mini-split heat pumps, advanced envelope features, and a carport solar installation.

Clark Hall Retrofit

The University of Virginia implemented significant HVAC, lighting, and water improvements to its historic Clark Hall to substantially reduce energy and water consumption. These measures have achieved a 65% energy savings and $750,000 in cost savings per year.

Crankshaft Grinders Upgrade at Hagerstown Facility

Volvo Group North America retrofitted the grinders at its Hagerstown, Maryland facility with new state-of-the art Computer Numerically-Controlled grinding machines. The retrofit reduced costs and energy use by 56%.

Eastern Distribution Center

Havertys implemented three major LED lighting upgrade projects and other operational improvements through its HVTerra program at its Eastern Distribution Center, resulting in a 29% energy use reduction, annual cost savings of $50,000, and avoided costs of $158,000.

Frank J. Manning Apartments

Cambridge Housing Authority took this property's ENERGY STAR® score from 1 to 95 at this 19-story concrete high-rise. Upgrades to the building envelope, HVAC, lighting, and plumbing fixtures, and the integration of combined heat and power, resulted in $350,000 in annual cost savings.

Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota Campus

Mayo Clinic's energy management guidelines include new construction and renovation energy use intensity targets using energy modeling and analysis, operations energy management strategies, and staff engagement procedures. These measures resulted in $4 million in energy cost savings per year and a 20% total energy reduction.

Zero-Energy Maintenance Complex

King County, Washington targeted its trails maintenance complex for zero-energy via lighting and HVAC retrofits, and a rooftop solar PV system. The PV system, combined with the retrofits, produces 45% more energy than the maintenance site consumes, which is on pace to exceed the county's net-zero energy goal.

New Solutions-at-a-Glance

Marriott's Measurement & Verification Process for New Technologies

Marriott established an internal Measurement and Verification (M&V) process for assessing new energy-saving technologies, products, and services to be used in its global portfolio. The M&V process allows Marriott's engineering and sustainability team to prioritize new technologies based on validated energy-saving potential and verified typical returns.

Back to top

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings Webinar Series

Below are the first three webinars of the 2019–2020 Webinar Series. View the full schedule here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Back by Popular Demand: The Best of the 2019 Better Buildings Summit

This webinar features three of the top-rated presentations from the 2019 Better Buildings Summit—a rare chance to catch one of the talks you might have missed!

Register here

Tuesday, October 1, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Getting to 100%: Overcoming Barriers to Tenant Data Collection

This webinar will present innovative, outside-the-box strategies for collecting multifamily tenant energy consumption data, ranging from obtaining tenant consent to portfolio-wide data campaigns.

Register here

Tuesday, October 22, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Small and Rural K-12 Schools

This webinar will cover energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and strategies available to small and rural schools to help them train a robust workforce and achieve energy and cost savings.

Register here

Technology Webinars

Tuesday, August 27, 2019: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Thermal Energy Storage: The Lowest Cost Storage

In this webinar from the Space Conditioning Technical Research Team, hear from industry experts on the basics, current technology, and new research into thermal energy storage and how it impacts energy costs and energy performance for buildings.

Register here

Wednesday, October 30, 2019: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Smart Energy Analytics Campaign: Synthesis of Year 3 Outcomes

The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign's third year of operation has seen a significant increase in the data on how participants are using their Energy Management and Information Systems (EMIS). Join us to learn about new cost information, which technologies are seeing increased uptake, and trends for the continued implementation of EMIS in commercial buildings.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

August 20 - 22, 2019
Energy Exchange

This 3-day training, trade show, and peer networking event is hosted by DOE's Federal Energy Management Program and focused on those who manage and operate federal and military facilities. Recurring themes for 2019 are resilience and energy security.

Register here

September 18 - 21, 2019
Urban Land Institute (ULI) Fall Meeting

ULI's annual fall meeting convenes representatives from every sector of the real estate industry to discuss trends and projects related to responsible and sustainable land use and development, including zero energy districts, opportunity zones, workforce development, and financing tools. 

Register here

September 25 - 27, 2019
Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) World 2019

AEE World is a 3-day conference directed at energy professionals from commercial business, government, institutional, and industry organizations. Session tracks include energy security, high-performance communities, renewable energy and sustainable development, and a dedicated Better Buildings, Better Plants track.

Register here

October 9 - 11, 2019
Getting to Zero National Forum

This solutions-focused event, dedicated to zero-energy and zero-carbon buildings, gathers leading policymakers, design professionals, building owners, systems manufacturers, commercial real estate representatives, and others.

Register here

October 20 - 23, 2019
International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) Annual Conference & Technology Fair

The I2SL Annual Conference is focused on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in laboratories and related facilities. Topic areas for 2019 include benchmarking, waste diversion, resilience, and continuous improvement.

Register here

October 27 - 30, 2019
Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference & Expo

The AASHE Conference & Expo is open to students, faculty, administrators, and industry professionals who wish to advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities.

Register here

November 17 - 20, 2019
Behavior, Energy & Climate Change (BECC) 2019 Conference

The BECC Conference is focused on understanding human behavior and decision-making and using that knowledge to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon technologies and practices to benefit the economy, security, and the environment.

Register here

November 19 - 22, 2019
Greenbuild International Conference & Expo

Greenbuild is the largest annual event for green building professionals worldwide. The 2019 theme is “A New Living Standard.” Sessions will range from design and construction to the latest in operations, engagement, and green leasing. There are several workshops and summits within the event, as well as a large trade show.

Register here

Back to top

Partners in the News

University of Maryland Medical Center Hosts Energy Treasure Hunt with American Society for Health Care Engineering and DOE

The American Society for Health Care Engineering teamed up with DOE to lead an Energy Treasure Hunt at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore July 17-18, 2019. UMMC staff and health care facilities professionals from around the country took part in this 2-day quest to discover energy-saving opportunities in UMMC facilities.

Wendium of Florida is First Wendy's Franchisee to Achieve Energy Goal

After joining the Better Buildings Challenge in 2015, The Wendy's Company took on the additional task of engaging with its franchisees and encouraged them to set their own Challenge goals. In 2019, Wendium of Florida, Inc. became the first franchisee to meet its energy goal—seven years ahead of schedule.

Partners Pilot Nation's First Multifamily Resilience Assessment Tool in D.C.

Washington, D.C. launched the nation's first multifamily housing resilience assessment tool to support preservation of the District's affordable housing stock. Three Better Buildings Challenge multifamily partners participated in the 2018-2019 resiliency audit pilot—NHT Communities, the D.C. Housing Authority, and WinnCompanies—and shared their lessons learned.

Recent news articles featuring Better Buildings partners are listed below. Partners have been recognized by Charlottesville Tomorrow, Site Selection Magazine, FMLink, and more.

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

Back to top

New Resources

Residential Energy Efficiency for Local Governments

This resource guide is intended to help local governments develop and implement policies and programs for improving the energy efficiency of single-family and multifamily homes in their communities. It highlights replicable programs demonstrated by communities across the country and provides informational resources, including analytical tools and model programs for a wide range of communities and demographic regions, to support successful program development and implementation.

Better Buildings Accelerators: What's New

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. 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.

Better Buildings Alliance: What's New

Integrating Smart Plug and Process Load Controls into EMIS Platforms: A Landscaping Study

This landscaping study characterizes smart wireless plug and process load (PPL) meter and control technologies, identifies which of these are currently available, and highlights how to address gaps. The report recommends research on (1) integrating PPL data into EMIS platforms, (2) making PPL data interoperable with other building end-use data, and (3) developing and testing automatic PPL controls.

Archived Webinars

Electric Vehicles: Buildings as the New Gas Station

The Renewables Integration Technical Research Team hosted a webinar on electric vehicle (EV) charging. Presenters provided an overview of current EV charging technologies, what to consider when planning for EV charging at a building, and the future of 2-way charging technologies.

Better Buildings Residential Network

Advanced Wall Technology Research Study

A new literature review by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, funded by DOE's Building America Program, summarizes current practices for exterior wall retrofits for existing homes as part of a 3-year, multi-part study to identify state-of-the-art deep energy wall upgrade technologies suitable for cold and very cold climate zones.

DOE's Zero-Energy Ready Home Program Holds Stakeholder Roundtable Discussions

DOE's Zero-Energy Ready Home program engaged key partners such as builders, home energy raters, building product manufacturers, and trade associations in annual stakeholder roundtables to share lessons learned, identify key challenges, and brainstorm actions for continuous improvement. Builders expressed interest in “pre-wired homes for smart home management systems that come online in the future so they are ‘smart-home ready’.”

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 1-page "lessons learned" fact sheets. View the latest fact sheets and the full archive here.

Back to top

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:

Back to top