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 MetLife Investment Management for Energy Efficiency Leadership

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner MetLife Investment Management for energy efficiency advances made in its District Center. The 910,000-square-foot building in Washington, D.C. is a Better Buildings showcase project and saves 31% annually on energy costs, which equates to more than $500,000 per year – a 33% energy reduction compared to a 2014 baseline. View photos on the Beat Blog.

Registration is Open for the 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit – Discounts Available for Early Registrants

SummitSquareSTDThe 2020 Summit will occur June 8-10, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.). The Summit will consist of three days of engaging, interactive sessions across six tracks with fellow industry stakeholders and experts, as well as special events, workshops, and peer networking opportunities. Don't miss this chance to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency with fellow professionals. The first 100 registrations get a discounted rate, so reserve your place today! View the latest Summit updates

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Alturus
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Sheetz Inc.

Better Plants Challenge

  • McWane, Inc.

Better Plants

  • Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department
  • ND Paper Inc.
  • Silgan Closures
  • Valmont Industries

Better Buildings Alliance

  • Carleton College

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • About Saving Heat
  • BrightLeaf
  • Green Insight, LLC
  • H&H Design and Construction
  • Stone Energy Associates
  • Redwood Coast Energy Authority

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

Efficiency-as-a-Service in Multifamily Properties: Owner vs Tenant Occupied

Citizen Energy completed projects at two multifamily properties using an efficiency-as-a-service financing solution. Despite the variance in ownership structures, efficiency-as-a-service worked for each property, resulting in immediate energy cost savings.

Installing Rooftop Solar on a 1960s Multifamily High-Rise Building

The Tower Companies installed the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic system on a multifamily building in Montgomery County, Maryland. Not only does the 122-kilowatt installation reduce almost 10% of the overall operating costs at Blair House, but the project is expected to achieve a 1-year after-tax payback.

PACE Enables Energy Efficiency in Major Redevelopment Project

Lever Real Estate Capital provided $4.6 million in property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for various energy conservation measures as part of the redevelopment of the historic Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska. These energy efficiency improvements are expected to generate $116,000 in annual utility savings.

Compressed Air Challenge

Saint-Gobain North America (SGNA) established a "compressed air challenge" to tackle compressed air leakages. This challenge, accepted by 19 SGNA facilities, employed a point system to incentivize teams to find and fix compressed air leaks. These fixes resulted in company-wide savings of 26 gigawatt-hours and $2.5 million in electricity costs.

New Showcase Projects

Agropur: Refrigeration Upgrades

Agropur commissioned a study that identified upgrades to the ammonia refrigeration system as an opportunity to significantly reduce energy at the Le Sueur plant. The project reduced the electric load by over 2 million kWh annually with an expected 2-year payback, achieving a 40% energy use reduction and over $150,000 in annual cost savings.

Capitol Hill Housing: Brewster Apartments

Built in 1916, Brewster Apartments was able to improve its energy performance by 26% with building envelope upgrades and air source heat pumps. The retrofits were funded with incentives from Seattle City Light.

Hannaford Supermarkets: Brandon, Vermont Store

Hannaford utilized support from Efficiency Vermont's Deep Energy Retrofit program to achieve a 56% reduction in energy use in two years through a combination of operational, behavioral, and equipment upgrades. These upgrades resulted in $135,000 in annual cost savings.

Xerox Corporation: Abandoned Air Handler Repurposing

Xerox plant personnel reduced unoccupied base load by making an unused air handling unit serve as a dry cooler during winter months. These changes resulted in 15% energy savings and $10,000 in annual cost savings. With a utility rebate equaling the total project cost of roughly $30,000, the project had an immediate simple payback.

New Solution-at-a-Glance

Grocery Stewardship Certification Program

Multiple Better Buildings partners – including Hannaford, Food Lion, Giant Eagle, and Whole Foods Market – are implementing sustainable operating practices through participation in the Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) program. GSC helps participants identify and implement low-cost energy, water, and waste reduction measures through continuous improvement and employee engagement.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars

Better Buildings Webinar Series

View the full Better Buildings Webinar schedule here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Building Value: How Energy Efficiency Impacts Mortgages and More

This webinar will address the financial impact of energy performance and provide attendees with the information needed to assess energy and climate risk in their portfolios.

Register here

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

Part 1 of this mini-series will highlight how commercial building owners can build the financial business case for resilience within an organization, best practices for measuring financial risk at the asset and portfolio level, 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 2 of this mini-series will focus on different mechanisms for financing resilience projects, various 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 3-year Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator.

Register here

Technology Webinars

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

Tuesday, February 25, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Better Benchmarking for Lab Buildings

Attendees will receive a demonstration of the Laboratory Benchmarking Tool, funded by DOE and developed in collaboration with Better Buildings Smart Labs Accelerator partners. The demo will focus on the new features and how to use them to further your organization’s sustainability goals.

Register here

Thursday, February 27, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Heat Pump Water Heaters – What You Need to Know Right Now

Heat pump water heaters can be several times more efficient than conventional models, but what do you need to know before introducing them into your program or installing one? Join this peer exchange call for an overview of this technology and guidance on how to apply it in the field.

Register here

Thursday, March 12, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
The State of Gas Energy Efficiency Programs

What is the current state of residential gas energy efficiency programs? Join this peer exchange call for an update, as well as insights into what the future may hold.

Register here

Thursday, March 26, 2020: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
How Bad Installation Can Negate Good Equipment

Residential energy efficiency technology continues to improve, but are we realizing its full potential? Learn about the critical importance of quality installation practices, and how you can apply them in your work.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

February 25, 2020
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Rural Energy Conference

ACEEE’s Rural Energy Conference is focused on exploring how energy efficiency and clean energy increase rural prosperity by spurring economic growth and energy affordability. Topics will include resilience, renewable and distributed energy resources, program design and financing, and economic development.

Register here

March 2 - 4, 2020
Green Schools Conference & Expo

This national event is designed for the full range of players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build, and teach in U.S. schools. Attendees will work together to advance progress in the areas of environmental impact, health impact, and environmental and sustainability literacy.

Register here

April 20 - 22, 2020
Connex 2020

This 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 with over 300 exhibitors and features dedicated tracks for sustainability initiatives.

Register here

April 21 - 22, 2020
Association of Energy Engineer's (AEE) East Energy Conference & Expo

AEE’s annual education and networking event in the northeast U.S. brings together energy professionals from commercial, industrial, institutional, and governmental sectors to learn about the latest energy-saving strategies, products, services, and technologies.

Register here

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Partners in the News

Legrand's Energy Marathon Nets Savings, Instills Long-Term Best Practices

Legrand conducted its third Energy Marathon, a company-wide initiative to reduce energy usage and increase efficiency; 26 Legrand sites across the U.S. were challenged with finding new and creative solutions to save energy and demonstrate the impact of employee engagement. As a result of these marathons, Legrand has saved over 1.3 million kWh and $126,000 in energy costs.

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

Commercial PACE for New Construction Toolkit

Commercial PACE financing helps building owners overcome the upfront costs of implementing energy, water, or resilience projects at their properties. This toolkit provides resources and project case studies for building owners and developers that may want to take advantage of CPACE for new construction.

Better Buildings Alliance: What's New

The Business Case for High-Performance Buildings v2.0

This updated video course from DOE and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) showcases how leading property owners incorporate energy efficiency and broader sustainability elements into their operations and investment decisions.

2020 Green Lease Leader Applications due March 31

The March 31, 2020 deadline for the 2020 Green Lease Leaders application period is fast approaching! Now in its seventh year, Green Lease Leaders recognizes landlords, tenants, and real estate teams in the commercial office, retail, and industrial sectors for their efforts to break down barriers to higher-performing buildings by addressing energy and water use through smart lease clauses and corporate guidelines that enable action.

  • Apply now for the Landlord, Tenant, or Team Transaction categories.
  • Contact IMT and DOE for one-on-one guidance on earning recognition or information on greening your lease.

In case you missed it: Better Buildings Webinars on Demand

Explore more on-demand Better Buildings webinars here.

Save Money and Build Resilience with Distributed Energy Technologies (February 4, 2020)

Learn about tools from the National Labs for assessing potential facility-level energy technology investments and how to use those assessments to incorporate distributed energy technologies that optimize your facilities’ energy needs.

How Much Energy are Your Devices Consuming? Plug Load Disaggregation and the Future of Device Energy Reporting (January 22, 2020)

The Plug and Process Load Technology Research Team hosted two technical presentations from recently published studies that describe novel approaches for better understanding device-level energy consumption in buildings. 

Best of the Betters: The Better Plants 2019 Better Projects and Better Practice Presentations (January 7, 2020)

The Better Practice and Better Project Awards were created to recognize accomplishments in industrial energy efficiency. Award recipients range from diverse manufacturing sectors to utilities. This webinar showcased some of the 2019 applicants and awardees for their innovative, industry-leading energy management work.

Better Buildings Residential Network

New Blog Series on Advanced Building Construction

DOE recently launched the Advanced Building Construction initiative to address several long-standing challenges keeping new and existing buildings from unlocking their full potential to reduce energy. This blog series highlights topics including opportunities to improve new construction, off-site/prefabricated components, and workforce needs.

DOE Contributes to New Report on Resilient Housing in Island Communities

DOE worked with the Florida Solar Energy Center to provide energy efficiency content for the recently published Keep Safe: A Guide to Resilient Housing Design and Construction in Island Communities. This resource provides information on resilient housing design and construction for renters, homeowners, designers, and contractors.

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.

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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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