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. View the Bulletin online.

In This Issue

Latest News and Announcements

Energy Department Recognizes TE Connectivity for Energy Efficiency Leadership

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings, Better Plants partner TE Connectivity for energy productivity advances made in its Lickdale, Pennsylvania plant. The 254,000-square-foot plant employs 500 people and manufactures electrical connectors and contacts used in many applications, primarily household appliances. Through its energy efficiency efforts, the facility saves more than $200,000 per year in energy costs and nearly 10 billion British thermal units, compared to a 2012 baseline. View photos on the Beat Blog.

Save the Date for the 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants SummitSummitSquareSTD

DOE's next Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit will be June 8-10, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.). In addition to engaging and interactive sessions, attendees can look forward to the return of Ask-an-Expert, building tours, and opportunities to network with peers. Explore the schedule and book your accommodations below; registration will open in January 2020.  

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Alexandria, VA
  • Lush Cosmetics
  • Pace University
  • University of Tulsa

Better Plants

  • Occidental Chemical Corporation
  • Sears Manufacturing
  • Silgan Containers
  • Silgan Plastic Food Containers

Better Buildings Alliance

  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Hudson Pacific Properties

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • Calortech
  • HDR Consulting
  • Stash Energy
  • Transduction Technologies

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

Pioneering California's First Medical Center Microgrid

Kaiser Permanente implemented a microgrid that connects renewable energy and battery storage to a pre-existing, diesel-fueled backup power system at its Richmond Medical Center in California. By improving operational efficiency by as much as 20%, the hospital stands to save an additional 2.63 MWh of energy per year, resulting in annual savings of $394,000.

Coupling Real-Time Energy Data Use with Enhanced Staff Training

To address inefficient pump operations and a gap in staff expertise, Des Moines Water Works installed “energy monitor” systems fed by electric submeters to track pump efficiency and provide real-time data on energy intensive processes. The utility also instituted additional trainings for key personnel to increase knowledge around energy management and how pump efficiency impacts energy use.

New Showcase Projects

Saint-Gobain Corporation: Advanced Energy Monitoring with Wireless Submetering

Saint-Gobain used submetering technology at its Ceramics NorPro facility in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee to identify opportunities to decrease peak demand to limit variable energy costs. The resulting projects achieved 14% energy use savings within one year and a 15% reduction in energy costs.

Eastman Chemical: Improved Control of Process Water Systems in Hydrocarbon Cracking Plant

Eastman Chemical reduced steam usage by 11% and make-up water by 81% in its hydrocarbon cracking plant by replacing the damaged internals in their process water strippers and implementing advanced control strategies.

New Solutions-at-a-Glance

DaVita's Top-User Water Efficiency/Management Program

DaVita developed the Top 150 Water Users program to identify and optimize high water users to reduce portfolio-wide dialysis center water consumption, helping the organization make progress on its water reduction goal.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars

Better Buildings Webinar Series

View the full Better Buildings Webinar schedule here.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Best of the Betters: The Better Plants 2019 Better Project and Better Practice Presentations

Better Plants created the Better Practice and Better Project Awards to recognize outstanding accomplishments in implementing and promoting industrial energy efficiency projects and programs. Join this webinar to learn more from exceptional 2019 applicants and award winners.

Register here

Tuesday, February 4, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Save Money and Build Resilience with Distributed Energy Technologies

Learn about tools from the National Labs for assessing potential facility-level energy technology assessments and how Better Buildings Challenge partners were able to use those assessments to incorporate distributed energy technologies that optimized their facilities’ energy needs.

Register here

Tuesday, March 3, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Building Value: Energy Efficiency's Impact on Financial Performance

This webinar will present a range of research – empirical, quantitative, and market-based – on the effects of energy efficiency and green building measures on the financial performance of commercial real estate.

Register here

Technology Webinars

Thursday, December 19, 2019: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
DOE Smart Buildings Field Validation Opportunity: Seeking Pilot Site

DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) are assessing the performance of a connected building operating system for small-to-medium commercial buildings to help them reduce operating expenses and save energy. DOE seeks a commercial office host site with manually controlled thermostats to pilot the system and receive free, independent measurement and verification. Join this informational webinar to learn more about the opportunity and receive a demo of the system from LBNL.

Register here

Thursday, January 9, 2020: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Lighting & Electrical Technology Research Team Call: The IoT-Enabled Lighting Challenge

Most LED fixtures currently on the market are simple systems and not cost-effective to retrofit in the future. DOE is challenging industry to produce IoT-enabled light fixtures (at a slightly increased cost) with drive to power features and a standard ‘port’ for a sensor. This will be an open discussion of feedback on IoT applications under consideration, the value of IoT applications, and sensor needs.

Pre-registration is not required. For instructions on how to join, click here.

Friday, February 14, 2020: 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Improving Cooling Tower System Efficiency with Alternative Water Treatment Strategies

Cooling towers are widely used for space conditioning because they provide an effective method of heat rejection, but the typical chemical treatments involved in their maintenance often result in wasted energy and water. In this Space Conditioning Technology Research Team call, industry experts will discuss four recent publications related to improving efficiency and longevity in cooling tower systems through various water treatment technologies.

Register here

Wednesday, February 19, 2020: 1 - 2 p.m. ET
Addressing the Envelope: Recognizing Building Enclosure Improvements

Join this webinar with the Envelope Technology Research Team to learn about the design and roll-out of the new Better Buildings recognition campaign for achievements in adopting high-performance building envelope technologies.

Register here

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Partners in the News

Energy Efficiency + Health: Better Buildings Partners Collaborate on Housing for Health Fund

Housing retrofit projects that improve energy efficiency can also improve the health of occupants while reducing waste and operating costs. East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, and Enterprise Community Partners have teamed up with Oakland, California’s Housing Department for the “Housing for Health Fund,” which promotes healthy communities through energy efficiency.

NYCHA Creates Model for Green Workforce Development

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) offers a model for public housing authorities nationwide to develop green workforce programs, addressing an ever-growing need in the marketplace. NYCHA is using its suite of energy performance contracts as a platform to connect residents to high-quality economic opportunity services, particularly in the field of energy efficiency.

Atlanta Honors Top Performers, Publishes Final Report

In November, the City of Atlanta and its partners celebrated the success of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge with a new report showcasing the program’s outcomes and a special recognition event.

Las Vegas Sands Exceeds Energy Savings Goal

This year, Las Vegas Sands became the first hospitality partner to achieve its Better Buildings Challenge energy savings goal. Across its 17.3 million-square-foot portfolio, Sands has improved energy performance by 24% from a 2011 baseline, surpassing its goal of 20% by 2024.

Partners Collaborate on Laboratory Benchmarking Tool

Through the Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator, LBNL worked with the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and kW Engineering to improve and expand the Laboratory Benchmarking Tool, which helps laboratories identify energy savings opportunities.

AEE World 2019: Partner Solutions, Engaging Discussions, and Celebrated Success

The Better Plants team recently wrapped up a successful Association of Energy Engineers’ (AEE) World 2019 in Washington, D.C.! AEE World is an annual conference and expo which features an entire track dedicated to the work of Better Plants and its partners.

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

Better Buildings Alliance: What's New

Report: The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign's Year 3 Outcomes

DOE’s Smart Energy Analytics Campaign has spent the last three years focused on supporting the use of commercially-available energy management and information systems (EMIS) and monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) practices for commercial buildings. This report presents a characterization of EMIS products, MBCx services, and trends in the industry based on data from the Campaign.

Case Study: Efficient Refrigeration Condenser Fan Motors

This case study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) highlights a new technology called a high rotor pole switched reluctance (HRSR) motor that can help grocers improve the efficiency of their refrigeration systems.

In case you missed it: Better Buildings Webinars on Demand

Explore more on-demand Better Buildings webinars here.

How Buildings of All Shapes and Sizes are Becoming Zero Energy Users (December 2019)

This webinar explored the financial, technological, and design process innovations that make zero energy building projects a reality.

Rethinking Leasing: Spotlight on the 2019 Green Lease Leaders (November 2019)

This webinar recognized the 2019 Green Lease Leaders who are pushing the envelope on building performance and energy-aligned leasing. 

Smart Energy Analytics Campaign: Synthesis of Year 3 Outcomes (October 2019)

The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign's third year of operation saw a significant increase in the data on how participants use EMIS. This webinar presented the data and trends for continued implementation of EMIS in commercial buildings.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Small and Rural K-12 Schools (October 2019)

This webinar covered 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 and showcased success stories from K-12 school districts.

Better Buildings Residential Network

2020 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge Participants Announced

Eighty-two teams from 55 collegiate institutions are participating in the next DOE Solar Decathlon Design Challenge! These teams are vying to be selected as one of the finalist teams that will compete during the Design Challenge Weekend at NREL, April 17–19, 2020. Finalists will be announced in February 2020, and winning teams will be selected in April 2020.

Congratulations to the 2019 Housing Innovation Award Winners

Since 2013, the DOE Housing Innovation Awards have honored the very best in innovation on the path to zero energy ready homes by recognizing forward-thinking builders who are delivering American homebuyers a better homeowner experience. Explore these award-winning homes on the Tour of Zero. The 2019 Housing Innovation Awards ceremony was held at the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance’s High-Performance Home Summit in Denver, Colorado.

Archived Peer Exchange Calls/Lessons Learned

Review past peer exchange calls from the Better Buildings Residential Network. Key takeaways from these presentations are outlined in 1-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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