Better Buildings - U.S. Department of Energy



December / January


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.

In This Issue

Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • BlueFlame Energy Finance, Financial Ally - $25 million
  • City of Reno, Nevada, 1.5 million sq. ft.
  • Kier Property Management, 820,800 sq. ft.
  • Redaptive, Inc., Financial Ally - $50 million

Better Plants

  • Plastics Engineering Company (Plenco)

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • ASK Efficiency, LLC
  • BEST-Techs Contracting
  • BrightHome Energy Solutions
  • East Hartford Public Schools
  • Energy Conservation Solutions
  • Equity Energy LLC
  • Evergreen Home Performance
  • Faraday Energy LLC
  • Howard Katzman Building Performance
  • Ingham County Land Bank
  • Inspection Perfection
  • Refresh Smart Home
  • Simple Home Energy Solutions
  • SLS Construction & Building Solutions LLC
  • Stellar Energy
  • Terrawatt

News and Announcements

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: The Advanced RTU Campaign has a New Focus on Intelligent Controls and Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics

Since its inception in 2013, the focus of the Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign has been encouraging high-efficiency RTU improvements in commercial buildings across the country through the replacement of old RTUs with high-efficiency units, and the retrofit of existing RTUs with advanced controls. The campaign has worked with over 300 organizations to impact 77,000 RTUs for an energy savings total of 17.8 trillion Btu – the equivalent of $166 million in cost savings. Building from these successes, the campaign is moving to the next RTU efficiency challenge: intelligent controls and automated fault detection and diagnostics (AFDD), the “check-engine light” for RTUs. The Advanced RTU Campaign will work with partners to further define RTU intelligent controls and AFDD technologies, document efforts, and provide feedback for the development of improved and more cost-effective solutions. If your organization has been working on high-efficiency RTU operations with intelligent controls and AFDD, please reach out to us.

Finalists Named in National Energy-Efficiency Competition

The top 10 finalist cities have been named in the final round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, and all of them are Better Buildings Residential Network members. This national competition was launched three years ago to rethink the way America’s small- to medium-sized towns, cities, and counties use energy. Finalists were recognized not only for their energy reduction efforts, but for innovative, replicable, and scalable programs that can serve as a model for other cities and counties working to save energy and reduce their budgets. The 10 finalists are: Bellevue, Washington; Bellingham, Washington; Berkeley, California; Chula Vista, California; Fargo, North Dakota; Fort Collins, Colorado; Oberlin, Ohio; Montpelier, Vermont; Takoma Park, Maryland; and Walla Walla, Washington.

Top 10 Solutions in November

The Top 10 Solutions from November feature a wide range of sustainability best practices. They include a unique water-saving Implementation Model from a leading university, a video showcasing opportunities for clean energy in commercial real estate properties, energy-saving contracts and more. You can also view our Top 10 Solutions from October.

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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. Take advantage of their success and check them out in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

Implementation Model

Expedited Financing through State and Local Partnerships

Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) combined major energy efficiency improvements with mandated odor control improvements to meet community commitments at their Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). They accomplished their goal with help from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

Power Purchase Agreement for the D.C. Department of General Services

In 2015, the District of Columbia Department of General Services engaged Sol Systems to develop one of the largest municipal portfolios of onsite solar energy projects in the U.S., using a power purchase agreement. The portfolio was completed in 2017. This work created 140 jobs, produces about 13,800 MWh annually, and is expected to save $25 million in taxpayer dollars over its lifetime.

Supply Chain-Treasure Hunt Program

Toyota strives to place sustainability as a priority in all stages of vehicle production, which includes their supply chain. As part of their sustainability initiative, Toyota established an aggressive water and energy efficiency supply chain program.

Showcase Projects

Boiler Control System Upgrades

Bentley Mills uses a large quantity of steam throughout their manufacturing process chain. In 2014, the company began implementing a project to upgrade the control system for one of its largest natural gas-fired boilers at its facility in City of Industry, Los Angeles.

Shari’s of Lynwood

Through a mix of equipment replacement, process changes, and employee education and engagement, Shari’s Café & Pies was able to realize 28 percent energy reductions to its energy consumption and 43 percent reductions to water consumption at this restaurant.

University Hospital

UW Health saw an opportunity to curb University Hospital’s energy intensity through retro-commissioning after a successful 2012 project on their largest outpatient clinic yielded a 1-year payback. This project netted a 27 percent energy use reduction and saved $2.25 million.

Zero Energy-Ready Student Pavilion

The pavilion provides an opportunity to demonstrate and teach Net Zero Energy and Zero Waste practices. Arizona State University has committed to achieving Zero Waste by 2025.

Solutions at a Glance

Developing an Energy Management Policy through Public-Private Partnership

Legacy Health enrolled in Energy Trust of Oregon’s commercial Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Initiative for assistance in establishing a culture around energy savings at its facilities.

Scaling ESAs through Site-Bundling

Citi and Metrus Energy partnered to close a groundbreaking transaction with a Fortune 100 technology customer for a multi-site, multi-state Energy Services Agreement (ESA). ESAs are a pay-for-performance, off-balance sheet financing solution that allow customers to implement efficiency projects with no upfront capital expenditure. While efficiency upgrades often focus on improvements at one property, this transaction demonstrates how ESAs can achieve scale.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings Webinars

December 14: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
The Amazing Race: City Finalists of the National Georgetown University Energy Prize

This Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange will discuss best practices and innovative initiatives on energy efficiency from participants and finalists in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition.

Register here

January 9: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Big Results in Small Places: Exploring the Untapped Energy Efficiency Potential of Small Data Centers

Close to half of all the servers handling data occupy data centers that are less than 5,000 square feet; however, these smaller data centers are often overlooked when it comes to energy efficiency. Learn about why effective energy management is worth your attention in small data centers, and which low-cost, high-win strategies can reduce energy demand.

Register here

January 25: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
New Lighting Options: Lighting-as-a-Service and Internet of Things Research Update

This Lighting and Electrical Team call will include a presentation from Sparkfund about Lighting-as-a-Service: a way to harness new equipment for energy savings without actually purchasing the equipment. Utilizing Lighting-as-a-Service can lead to energy savings while offering financial benefits including reduced capital expenses and tax benefits. The call will also feature a brief update on Internet of Things (IoT) research.

Join the call here

February 6: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Buildings that Rebound: Resiliency Strategies for Commercial Buildings and Communities

As the energy sector is subject to more external risk due to natural and human events, more developers and building owners are discussing resilient building design. Join this webinar to learn about the technologies and strategies being pursued to address resilience.

Register here

March 6: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Financing 2.0: Navigating 3rd-Party Financing for Efficiency and Renewables

This webinar introduces the Better Buildings Financing Navigator 2.0, the latest iteration of DOE’s online tool that helps connect organizations with financing for energy efficiency and renewables projects. Join to learn about the new features and key trends in financing.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

January 20-24
ASHRAE Winter Conference

The ASHRAE Winter Conference & AHR Expo will host more than 2,000 exhibitors and 65,000 industry professionals. This conference includes tracks on what ASHRAE is most known for: standards, fundamentals and applications, systems, and equipment. There are also tracks on industry trends in resiliency and modeling throughout a building’s life cycle, and tracks addressing specific disciplines, such as transportation air conditioning, tall buildings, and heat exchange equipment.

Register here

February 4-7
AHA Rural Health Care Leadership Conference

The American Hospital Association’s 2018 Rural Health Care Leadership Conference brings together top practitioners to share strategies and resources for accelerating the shift to a more integrated and sustainable rural health system. Attendees will examine the most significant operational, financial, and environmental challenges and discuss innovative approaches that will enable others to transform their organization’s care delivery model and business practices.

Register here

February 6-9
NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference

The National Association of State Energy Officials' annual Energy Outlook conference attracts more than 250 decision makers, including State Energy Directors from nearly every State and Territory, private-sector leaders, and federal officials. The event will provide opportunities for interaction with state and local planners, developers, and regulators working in energy, housing, transportation, climate, and resilience; and businesses and investors interested in clean energy economic development.

Register here

February 11-14
Mortgage Bankers Association’s 2018 CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention and Expo

Join more than 3,000 commercial and multifamily real estate finance professionals for four days of networking, relationship-building, and deal-making. This event features access to key industry leaders, CEOs, and expert panelists who discuss the latest industry trends, regulatory developments, and strategies to succeed in today's dynamic marketplace.

Register here

February 13-14
2018 HPC New York Regional Home Performance Conference and Trade Show

The Home Performance Coalition (HPC) joins with industry leaders and fellow weatherization professionals, home performance contracting businesses, program administrators, and others working in the residential energy efficiency industry at the 2018 HPC New York Regional Home Performance Conference, hosted by NYSERDA.

Register here

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Latest from the Beat Blog and Partners in the News

Beat Blog: Featured Stories

This is just a taste of what’s happening on the Better Buildings Beat Blog! Visit the Beat Blog online for the whole story!

Three energy-efficient PHAs adopt SEED program, enriching education and efficiency in local communities

Better Buildings Challenge partners have always been market-drivers in energy efficiency, and our Multifamily partners are no exception. Three partners – all Public Housing Authorities – joined the SEED initiative to open up opportunities for sustainability and energy efficiency in their communities.

New Research Bolsters the Business Case for Energy-Efficient Buildings

Advocates for the development of and investment in high-performing, energy-efficient buildings understand the hurdles that come with proving the business case to commercial real estate owners and investors. Fortunately, a growing amount of research shows significant evidence that green buildings exhibit increased financial performance and various non-energy benefits, such as comfort and productivity.

State Energy Policies Drive Efficiency, Spark Investment

Both New York and Rhode Island have enacted legislation prioritizing energy efficiency with measurable success. New York created a framework to set energy reduction targets and track improvements, while Rhode Island established a set of guiding principles to make energy efficiency more cost-effective.

Establish a Sustainable Funding Cycle with the Green Revolving Funds Toolkit

The Beat Blog recently profiled Cleveland Clinic’s new case study on Green Revolving Funds for Healthcare projects. Inspired by the growing interest in this funding mechanism, Better Buildings has compiled this excellent resource and many others into a Green Revolving Funds Toolkit!

DOE’s Better Plants Partners Connect to Drive Energy Efficiency at World Energy Engineering Congress

This fall, staff from DOE’s Better Plants program convened with partners in Atlanta, Georgia, for the World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC), the largest energy conference and technology expo in the United States. WEEC brings together top experts from diverse fields to expand knowledge on energy efficiency, resiliency, and facility optimization.

There's an App for That: Arby's Develops a Process (and an App!) for Inventory & Management of Aging Rooftop Units

When you have a portfolio of over 900 quick-service restaurants across the country, how do you keep track of, manage, and maintain all of your HVAC equipment? Frank Iona and his team at Arby’s were able to find a 21st-century solution to that … an app!

The Beat Blog is updated throughout the week.

Partners in the News

Select news articles featuring Better Buildings partners are listed below. Recently, partners have been recognized by Distributed Energy Magazine, Facility Executive, Buildings Magazine, Multi-Housing News, and more.

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

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Better Information

Better Buildings Case Studies & Toolkits

Case Study: Cleveland Clinic Green Revolving Fund

Cleveland Clinic announced at the 2016 Better Buildings Summit that it had established an unprecedented $7.5 million Green Revolving Fund to strengthen its commitment to energy efficiency. The fund stands out as one of the largest annual commitments in any U.S. business sector and as the largest for healthcare.

Toolkit: Green Revolving Funds

A Green Revolving Fund (GRF) is an internal capital pool that is dedicated to funding energy efficiency, renewable energy, and/or sustainability projects that generate cost savings. A portion of those savings are then used to replenish the fund (i.e. revolved) allowing for reinvestment in future projects of similar value. This toolkit collects numerous Better Buildings GRF resources.

Toolkit: Using Learning to Strengthen Performance

The Better Buildings Residential Network has created a new toolkit to help residential energy efficiency programs evaluate their efforts and incorporate lessons learned on the go, rather than after a program ends. The toolkit provides practical guidance and resources to conduct targeted reviews and make adjustments at various points in the lifecycle of a program and its offerings, in a continuous cycle of planning and improvement.

Archived Webinars

Lab Partners: How to Leverage DOE National Laboratories

Attendees on this webinar learned about the National Labs and how their organizations can work with them to enhance their energy efficiency.

How to Become a Green Lease Leader: The Latest in High-Performance Leasing Practices and Recognition

Watch this webinar to learn how Green Lease Leaders takes energy efficiency in buildings to new heights with new program features, a walkthrough of the application process, and advice on how to get started.

2 for 1: Energy Efficiency and Water Savings are a Combo Deal

This webinar discussed the connection between energy and water savings and how to orchestrate the right-sized projects that achieve both.

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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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