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

Register for the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

Register today for the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit! The Summit will be held July 10-11 in the Washington, D.C. metro area (Arlington, Virginia) with pre-conference activities on the afternoon of July 9. This 2-day event will feature interactive sessions with industry experts and market leaders, as well as many opportunities to network with peers. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency with fellow professionals. Register now to reserve your place!

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Skyview Ventures

Better Buildings Alliance

  • Berkshire Residential Investments

Better Plants Challenge

  • Xerox

Better Plants

  • Deschutes Brewing
  • Flowers Foods
  • Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America
  • Ozinga Brothers
  • Tyson Foods

Better Buildings Accelerators

Building Energy Data Analysis

  • Association for Energy Affordability
  • California Energy Commission
  • Commercial Real Estate Data Alliance (CREDA)
  • Institute for Market Transformation
  • Miami-Dade County, FL
  • Saint Paul, MN
  • San Francisco, CA

Packaged Combined Heat and Power

  • Consolidated Edison (ConEd)
  • New Jersey Clean Energy Program (TRC Solutions)

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

Campus Engagement and Workforce Development to Achieve Net-Zero Goals

The University of Nebraska Medical Center, with its clinical partner Nebraska Medicine, launched the LiveGreen Ambassadors Program, an employee engagement structure for volunteers passionate about incorporating sustainability into their role and department, to increase engagement and reach their ambitious net zero emissions, waste, and water goals by 2030.

Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP) for Energy Management

Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority (BCWSA) sought to integrate a cutting-edge software platform into its IT infrastructure that would allow it to accurately track energy use. After an in-depth review process, BCWSA contracted with a local vendor for a cost-effective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that has enabled BCWSA to successfully monitor over 125 pumping stations and identify new opportunities for operational improvements.

State Loan Program Provides Funding for Historic Building Retrofit

The AlabamaSAVES Program – administered for the state of Alabama by Abundant Power and its affiliate, CleanSource Capital – acquired a participating interest in a third-party loan through its Participating Loan Program to support the redevelopment of the Mercantile National Bank Building in downtown Mobile.

New Showcase Projects

Helen Bernstein High School

Los Angeles Unified School District expects energy efficiency upgrades performed at Helen Bernstein High School to result in 28% energy savings and annual cost savings of $137,000. The school is a high-performance designed facility, incorporating sustainable and energy-efficient design and construction standards into its site, water, energy, materials, indoor environmental quality, and operations.

The Wendy’s Company Restaurant Support Center

Energy efficiency improvements implemented at the Wendy’s Company headquarters, including LED upgrades, chiller replacements, and retro-commissioning, have resulted in 28% energy savings from a 2013 baseline and $174,000 in annual cost-savings.

New Solutions at a Glance

Breaking Down the Split Incentive Barrier with RTU Performance and Maintenance Specifications

Ulta Beauty is breaking down the split incentive barrier by implementing industry-leading roof-top unit (RTU) guidelines that are beneficial to themselves as tenant and to their landlords.

Wendy’s Smart Family of Designs

The Wendy’s Company created the Smart Family of Designs portfolio to provide development options to franchisees, including buildings that fit into smaller footprints and have features that promote energy efficiency.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings Webinars

March 5, 2019: 3 - 4 P.M. ET
Better Buildings, Better Bodies: Strategies for Health & Wellness

Meet Better Buildings partners who are implementing design strategies in their buildings and sustainability plans focusing on the wellness, health, and productivity of the people inside them.

Register here

April 2, 2019: 3 - 4 P.M. ET
Rethinking Traditional Finance: How Efficiency-as-a-Service Unlocks New Potential for Business

This webinar will highlight a new efficiency-as-a-service toolkit and Better Buildings Financial Allies will share insights from the field.

Register here

May 7, 2019: 3 - 4 P.M. ET
Straight Talk: Talking to Multifamily Tenants about Utility Benchmarking

This webinar will identify strategies for working with tenants to share their utility data; it will also explore ways to engage multifamily residents about the benefits of energy efficiency upgrades.

Register here

June 4, 2019: 3 - 4 P.M. ET
Solutions for Small Data Centers: Air Management Packages

This webinar will focus on how small data centers use air management best practices to reduce energy costs.

Register here

Technology Webinars

February 19, 2019: 2 - 3 P.M. ET
Tutorial Webinar on DCPro: An Energy Assessment Tool for Data Centers

This webinar will present an overview of the online DCPro energy assessment tool for data centers followed by a walk-through of the tool's inputs, outputs, and other considerations. DCPro is an "early stage" scoping tool designed for data center owners and operators to diagnose how energy use is distributed in their data center and determine ways to save energy and money.

Register here

February 21, 2019: 2 - 3 P.M. ET
Lighting & Electrical Technology Research Team Call: Internet of Things (IoT)-Enabled Troffer Lighting Challenge and Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) Recognition Selection

An easily upgradeable, competitively-priced troffer luminaire or retrofit kit for commercial spaces is the focus of DOE’s interior lighting efforts. On this call, DOE will seek feedback from industry about the near-term IoT applications that would be of most value to building owners. DOE will also share details on the 2019 ILC recognition process currently underway, including new innovative lighting system categories introduced this year.

Pre-registration is not required. Access the webinar here. Connect your audio through your computer or dial in: +1 (571) 317-3122 Access Code: 813-580-069

March 7, 2019: 1 - 2 P.M. ET
Space Conditioning Technology Research Team Call: New Technology Reviews

This call will provide an overview of research activity, resources, and new space conditioning technologies. Michael Deru (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) will highlight new technology award winners from the 2019 AHR Expo, including the Product-of-the-Year winner.

Register here

March 20, 2019: 1 - 2 P.M. ET
Plug and Process Load (PPL) Technology Research Team Biannual Call 

Technical team lead Kim Trenbath (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) will provide updates on current and upcoming Plug and Process Load team research efforts and other relevant industry developments. Alice Kandt (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) will provide a summary of a recent field study that assessed a wireless meter and control system (“smart outlets”) for plug loads in two retail environments. Discussion will follow.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

April 8-9, 2019
Green Schools Conference & Expo

This event will feature two days of educational sessions, case studies, hands-on workshops, and lectures from today’s green schools experts. Content will serve multiple audiences: administration, construction, faculty, and operations.

Register here

April 29 – May 1, 2019
PRSM National Conference 2019

PRSM’s annual conference for retail facilities maintenance professionals is one of the largest multi-site retail-focused events in the country. It combines education sessions, networking, and an expo of over 300 exhibitors.

Register here

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Partners in the News

Let’s Get Down to Business: Early Research Offers New Insights into the Business Case for Energy Efficiency

What is the relationship between a building’s energy efficiency features and its financial performances? Through the Better Buildings Alliance’s Market Solutions Team, DOE is working to find out. New research is underway in this field that offers new insights into these relationships, and what they could mean for valuing high-performance commercial real estate. Final results are expected in the Spring, but the Beat Blog has an inside look!

To Your Health: Introducing the Water Efficiency Toolkit for Healthcare Facilities

Better Buildings partners are proving that healthcare facilities can achieve significant water savings without jeopardizing water quality or patient care. The Healthcare Water Efficiency and Program Management Toolkit collects partner experiences and other valuable resources to provide guidance tailored to the Healthcare sector for efficient water management while maintaining control of infection.

LAUSD Leads Zero Net Energy Schools

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), a Better Buildings Challenge partner, was announced as a winner of the 3rd-annual Zero Net Energy School Leadership Award at the Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit. The event brought together K-12 schools, community colleges, and associated stakeholders to share best practices in energy management and explore new emerging technologies. In addition to being recognized, LAUSD also took part in leading discussions about incorporating environmental principles into classroom instruction.

100,000 Home Energy Scores So Far…and Counting!

More than 100,000 homes have been rated by organizations nationwide using DOE’s Home Energy Score! This tool for homeowners, homebuyers, and renters estimates home energy use, home energy costs, and provides cost-effective solutions to improve home energy efficiency. Keep reading to learn more about the savings potential of homes scored to-date.

Better Buildings Partners Take the Stage at Greenbuild

The 2018 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo convened Better Buildings partners across all sectors to learn about the latest trends in sustainability and the built environment. This year’s theme, “Human X Nature,” set the stag for a host of health-related sessions, many of which utilized research and tools from DOE National Laboratories and featured Better Buildings partner leadership on zero energy and innovations in real estate finance.

New MEASUR Software Tool Suite a Boon for Manufacturing Sector

For years, manufacturing plant personnel and experts have relied on several DOE software tools to increase industrial energy efficiency – both at the plant-level and for specific energy-consuming systems. Now, these tools have been combined into the new Manufacturing Energy Assessment Software for Utility Reduction (MEASUR) tool suite!

Multifamily Leaders Use the Power of People to Meet Energy Goals

When your organization wants to save energy, the first place to start is usually a plan. But a good plan only works if the people in your organization are part of the plan. People are the most powerful resource for any organization wanting to meet ambitious energy efficiency goals. This is especially true in an apartment community. Two Better Buildings Challenge partners have shared recent examples of ways they have successfully included people to meet their goals – both staff and residents.

Financial Allies Contribute to Growth of CPACE Financing

The use of commercial property assessed clean energy (CPACE) continues to grow across the country, with nearly $600 million in funds deployed through 2017. Better Buildings Financial Allies are helping to drive energy efficiency by offering innovative financing options, and several Allies have achieved significant milestones that reflect the increased market adoption of commercial PACE financing

Recent news articles featuring Better Buildings partners are listed below. Partners have been recognized by Facility Executive, Retrofit Magazine, Sustainable Brands, and more.

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

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Better Information

Better Buildings Accelerators

Fact Sheet: Better Buildings Packaged CHP Accelerator

This fact sheet introduces the target markets and goals of the new Packaged CHP Accelerator and explains the Packaged CHP eCatalog.

Case Study: Streamlining Processes Achieves More for California Home Energy Program

This case study from the Home Upgrade Program Accelerator highlights process improvements undertaken by Build It Green and Pacific Gas & Electric to streamline California’s Home Energy Program. As a result, the application review process has fewer errors and the predicted energy savings are more reliable.

Better Buildings Alliance

Apply to Become a Green Lease Leader in 2019

The March 31 deadline for the 2019 Green Lease Leaders application period is fast approaching! Green Lease Leaders is an industry-acclaimed recognition program created by the Better Buildings Alliance and the Institute for Market Transformation. Now entering its sixth year, the program has recognized landlords, tenants, and real estate teams in the commercial office, retail, and industrial sectors – representing more than 1.8 billion square feet of space – for their efforts to break down barriers to higher-performing buildings by addressing energy and water use through smart lease clauses and corporate guidelines.

  • Register to apply for the Landlord, Tenant, or Team Transaction categories by March 31, 2019.
  • Contact us to receive one-on-one guidance for earning recognition or for information on greening your lease.

Healthcare Water Efficiency and Program Management Toolkit

Water used in hospitals and other health care facilities comprises 7% of the total water use in commercial and institutional facilities in the U.S. This toolkit aggregates resources to provide guidance tailored to the Healthcare sector for efficient water management while maintaining control of infection. A variety of assessment and resources are available for those interested in developing strategies around water management that are separate from energy management.

Investigating a Building Enclosure Performance Metric

The Envelope Technologies Research Team (ETRT) is seeking Better Buildings Partner input on research activities related to passive wall performance and field validation work on a new Building Enclosure Performance (BEP) metric. The ETRT includes 31 building owner/manager members and an additional 30 industry stakeholder friends. Get involved to engage advancing building envelope technologies! Contact Melissa Lapsa, Team Lead, for more information.

New Analysis Shows Link Between Energy and Default Rates in Multifamily Buildings

A study of commercial mortgages and energy usage for multifamily buildings showed a statistically significant relationship between mortgage default rates and energy use and price: higher energy use and higher whole sale electricity prices are associated with higher default rates. This study, sponsored by DOE and conducted by University of California Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, extends prior work that demonstrated a similar effect in office buildings. Detailed results are available here.

Archived Webinars

Latest News from the Technology Research Teams

Hear from leaders at the national laboratories working to advance technologies related to space conditioning, lighting, plug loads, building envelope, and energy management information systems.

Prioritizing Labs to Meet Your Energy Goal

Using lessons learned and experts in the field, this webinar can help set up your site for creating a Smart Labs Program. Prioritizing energy efficiency in labs can help organizations quickly meet their energy saving goals.

Lessons from the Field: Real World Applications that Inform R&D

Better Plants partners and representatives of the R&D community discuss how they have informed research into new energy-related technologies, materials, and best practices.

Better Buildings Residential Network

Fact Sheet: Innovative Community Energy-Savings Success Stories

Six communities in different parts of the country with populations between 5,000 and 250,000 are profiled in a new fact sheet for innovative and replicable energy efficiency program ideas: Arlington, Virginia; Bellingham, Washington; Chula Vista, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Takoma Park, Maryland; and Walla Walla, Washington.

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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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