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

Better Plants Challenge Partner Martin Guitar Reaches Energy Goal, Hosts Energy Department Visit at Showcase Manufacturing Plant

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the energy productivity achievements of C.F. Martin & Co. ® (Martin Guitar), a Nazareth, Pennsylvania-based guitar manufacturer and a partner in DOE’s Better Plants Challenge. As a partner in DOE’s Better Plants Challenge, Martin Guitar committed to improving its energy performance across all of their U.S. operations by 25% within 10 years while sharing their strategies and results. Martin Guitar, founded in 1833 and continuously family-owned and operated for six generations, achieved this energy efficiency milestone only two years after joining the program.

"Manufacturing competitiveness is a key goal of this Administration," said Daniel Simmons, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at DOE. "Through the DOE’s Better Plants program, manufacturers like C.F. Martin are using energy more productively, creating jobs, and driving economic growth."

Better Buildings Progress Report: DOE Highlights Better Buildings Partner and Ally Accomplishments

DOE announced the progress made by more than 900 public and private-sector organizations that are driving energy efficiency in the U.S. economy through their participation in the Better Buildings Initiative. This includes 380 trillion Btus, or $3.1 billion in reported cumulative energy and cost savings from the set of market leaders that have stepped up to the Better Buildings Challenge. Moreover, partners across the Better Buildings Initiative are sharing their innovative approaches and successful strategies to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and practices. The 2018 Better Buildings Progress Report highlights this progress in the commercial, industrial, residential, and public sectors to improve energy productivity.

The Better Buildings Initiative has grown to encompass more than 900 organizations, which represents 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as 28 states and close to 100 cities and counties across the nation.

Join us at the Better Buildings Summit – Register Today

The Better Buildings Summit is only two months away! From August 21-23, Better Buildings is teaming up with DOE’s Energy Exchange in Cleveland, Ohio. Attendees will be treated to technical discussions and trainings, diverse panel sessions with industry-leading speakers, showcase building tours, networking opportunities, and much more. Review the full agenda and get registered today.

The 2018 Summit will feature over 150 sessions, trainings, and workshops, and participants will be able to earn Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits. Summit attendees will also have access to the Energy Exchange Trade Show.

Headlights vs. Highlights: Season 4 of Better Buildings SWAP Showcases General Motors and L’Oréal USA

DOE unveiled the fourth installment of the "Better Buildings Challenge SWAP," featuring General Motors and L'Oréal USA. In this online video series, the companies swap energy management teams to gain new insights, save money, and improve the energy performance of their industrial facilities. The result is an informative, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to improve manufacturing competitiveness through energy efficiency.

"General Motors and L'Oréal USA are taking this unique challenge and paving the way for other industrial companies to improve their energy efficiency and save money," said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan. "This is a rare opportunity to see these energy leaders in action, learn how American products are manufactured, and understand how to apply their energy management expertise to buildings and facilities nationwide."

Monthly Top 10 Solutions

Here are the Top 10 most-viewed solutions from the month of May. This eclectic group of resources highlights innovative partner solutions from manufacturers, local governments, and Financial Allies as well as useful tools for ESPC, CPACE financing, and RTU retrofits. Make sure to check out past Top 10s!

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Washington College - 800,000 sq. ft.

Better Buildings Alliance

  • Baptist Memorial Hospital - DeSoto
  • Guam Memorial Hospital Authority

Better Plants

  • Avon Lake Regional Water
  • Dixline Corporation

Better Buildings Accelerators

Smart Labs

  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • U.S. General Services Administration

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • BrightHome Energy Solutions
  • Energy Conservation Solutions
  • Equity Energy LLC
  • Faraday Energy LLC
  • Simple Home Energy Solutions
  • SLS Construction & Buildings Solutions LLC
  • Stellar Energy

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.

New Implementation Models

Commercial PACE Financing for Microgrid in Mixed-Use Building

This $1 million project in Hartford, Connecticut – financed by Greenworks Lending – included energy efficiency, renewable energy, and microgrid improvements as part of broader renovations in a mixed-use housing and retail space. Since the project’s completion, the building has been operating with significantly reduced energy demand, saving $316,927 in the first year.

Commercial PACE Financing for Seton Medical Seismic Retrofits

Financed by CleanFund and Petros PACE Finance, this $40 million seismic and energy efficiency retrofit in Daly City, California, is the largest in the history of CPACE financing. Energy efficiency improvements are being implemented in the building in conjunction with the seismic upgrades, taking advantage of the exposure of the building envelope over the course of the project.

FREE Resources and Energy Business Evaluation (FREBE)

The City of Chula Vista, California developed the FREE Resource & Energy Business Evaluation (FREBE) Program to encourage and assist local businesses in improving their energy and water efficiency. FREBE requires businesses to undergo free energy and water evaluations of their premises when they receive their business license, and every 3-to-5 years thereafter; then program staff help identify opportunities for energy and water improvements that the businesses can implement at their discretion.

New Showcase Projects

Amway Center

Orlando’s Amway Center, the first NBA facility in the country to earn a LEED Gold certification for new construction, is being renovated as part of the city’s Greenworks Program. LED lighting retrofits to both court and back-of-house lighting plus comprehensive HVAC upgrades are further reducing energy use at the arena. Energy savings are expected to reach 25%.

Nissan North America – Three 50001 Ready Facilities

Nissan North America leverages 50001 Ready at its three U.S.-based facilities to train new staff and to help suppliers establish a cost-effective energy management system to expand savings. As a Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge Partner, Nissan recommitted to a 15% reduction of energy consumption in its three U.S. manufacturing facilities by 2022. They previously achieved a 25% reduction in five years.

Retrofitted HVAC System at Nazareth, PA Facility

The C.F. Martin & Co., Inc. senior management team determined the maintenance and utility costs associated with the HVAC infrastructure at their Nazareth, Pennsylvania guitar manufacturing facility had become unsustainable. After installing a factory-built central HVAC plant, they realized 38% energy savings and reduced costs over $500,000 per year.

Shepherd Park Apartments

As part of an energy conservation project, The Schochet Companies installed boiler upgrades, new hot water circulation pumps, unit air sealing, lighting upgrades, and water conservation measures. They also received over $170,000 through a local utility incentive program. The measures produced a 20% energy savings.

New Solutions at a Glance

Commercial PACE Financing for Hurricane-Proofing of Southern Oaks Rehab and Nursing Center

Financed by Hannon Armstrong, this $500,000 project in Pensacola, Florida, included upgrades to the facility’s windows and roof that will allow it to resist hurricane-force winds while improving energy performance.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings Webinars

July 10, 2018: 3 – 4 P.M. 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 renewable energy projects. Join to learn about the new features and key trends in financing.

Register here

July 12, 2018: 1 – 2:30 P.M. ET
Renters and Residential Energy Efficiency

Join this Better Buildings Residential Network Peer Exchange Call to learn how some residential energy efficiency programs have successfully connected with renters to broaden and strengthen their impact. Residential energy efficiency programs that focus strictly on homeowners leave a significant number of homes untouched, namely rental properties. Hear examples from the field that engaged the elusive renter and overcame the dreaded split-incentive.

Register here

July 12, 2018: 2 – 3 P.M. ET
Expanding ESPC to New Markets

This training addresses how to introduce energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) to market sectors that lack familiarity or experience with the mechanism. It includes a summary of successful results achieved by several ESPC Accelerator partners. 

Register here

July 26, 2018: 1 – 2:30 P.M. ET
Algorithm-based Home Energy Assessments

Fully-automated home energy assessments are becoming a regular feature within the platforms -- like the increasingly-integrated MLS and Zillow -- that are already changing how homes are purchased. The logistical and economic advantages of not having to deploy a trained energy technician on site are intriguing as these algorithm-based tools become more accepted, but can they really deliver energy efficiency-related information that is as accurate and actionable as an in-field tech? Panelists will discuss the latest findings on this Better Buildings Residential Network Peer Exchange Call.

Register here

September 13, 2018: 2 – 3 P.M. ET
Evaluating ESPC Results

This final installment in the ESPC Toolkit webinar series presents resources for measuring the results of ESPC projects and sharing positive impacts with management and the public. 

Register here

Tech Team Calls and Technology Webinars

July 18, 2018: 2 – 3 P.M. ET
Dashboards and Beyond: Designing Energy Information Systems for Success

Energy information systems (EIS) are becoming common as a way to organize and analyze energy meter data, especially for large portfolios of buildings. Two Smart Energy Analytics Campaign participants from the commercial real estate sector share their EIS features and give tips on installing and setting up their systems.

Register here

September 6, 2018: 1 – 2 P.M. ET
Field Test Results of New HVAC Technologies

Learn about field test results of several new high-performance HVAC technologies through the DOE High Impact Technologies and GSA Green Proving Ground programs. This webinar will cover test results from high-performance circulator pumps, innovative air scrubber technology, and a high-performance motor for chilled water pumping. These technologies have shown to produce savings of 30% or more over incumbent technologies.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

June 23-26, 2018
BOMA International Conference

BOMA’s annual meeting is ideal for property managers, asset managers, building engineers, and others in real estate management and ownership. Training and education opportunities span a variety of building types, from high-rise to mixed-use, and medical buildings to universities, with tracks devoted to technology advancements, actionable solutions, and sustainability.

Register here

July 15-18, 2018
ASHE Annual Conference and Technical Exhibition

Explore future trends and challenges in health care alongside thousands of other health care facility and engineering professionals. Attendees will have the chance to network and learn how to improve their efficiency, compliance, and other key areas.

Register here

July 19-20, 2018
NIH Health in Buildings for Today and Tomorrow: Making Connections

Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's "Health in Buildings Roundtable" and co-organized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, DOE, GSA, Pacific Northwest National Labs, U.S. Green Building Council, and various universities, this interdisciplinary event brings together the health and buildings communities to accomplish common goals.

Register here

August 3-5, 2018
APPA Leadership in Educational Facilities 2018

APPA 2018 is a platform for discussion, information sharing, networking, and much more. Join education colleagues for this distinctive international event where we discover best practices used around the world from more than 100 presenters, to include the most recognized and talented educational facilities leaders representing facilities officers, directors, and managers.

Register here

August 21-23, 2018
Better Buildings Summit/Energy Exchange

The Summit is one of the premier events for energy professionals to engage with one another and explore and share innovative strategies, emerging technologies, financing trends, and much more. This year, the Summit will be held with DOE’s annual Energy Exchange, focused on federal facility energy management, to provide greater access to technical discussions and training while also providing the great panel sessions, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities attendees expect at the Summit.

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!

Support System: Establishing an ESPC Program

The latest entry in our ESPC series is about setting up an ESPC program as a support network for successful ESPC projects. States and local governments can establish performance contracting as the go-to financing mechanism for their energy efficiency projects by providing a range of support services to project owners.

2018 Technology Days Connects Better Plants Partners with the National Labs

On April 24-25, Better Plants partners and prospects gathered at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, for the 2018 Technology Days. Technology Days are prime opportunities for industrial energy and R&D staff to tour facilities at national laboratories, discover innovative technologies under development, network with lab staff and each other, and learn how to leverage research and technologies through lab-industry partnerships.

Infographic: Results from DOE’s High-Performance RTU Challenge

Rooftop units (RTUs) are used to condition over half of all commercial floor space in the U.S. and constitute the most common HVAC equipment found in low-rise commercial structures. DOE’s Advanced RTU Campaign estimates that if all 10-20-ton commercial units were replaced with the most efficient units, businesses would save $1 billion each year in energy costs. To stimulate the market for higher-performing RTUs, DOE’s Building Technologies Office issued a challenge to manufacturers to build an RTU 50% more efficient than ASHRAE 90.1 standards. Find out what happened!

Better Buildings and National Apartment Association (NAA) Team Up for Special Multifamily Workshop

What do you get when you combine 40 attendees, 30 organizations, 4 federal agencies, and a sustainable caterer? The answer is the NAA/DOE Better Buildings Roundtable! Read about the 2-day April workshop designed especially for the dedicated sustainability professionals among NAA membership hosted at Bozzuto Management Company HQ.

DOE Highlights K-12 Sustainability at 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo

Three Better Buildings Challenge K-12 school partners participated in a panel at the Green Schools Conference and Expo on May 4 in Denver. The panel, entitled “Benchmarking for Books: How Schools Save Money through Benchmarking” featured presentations by the Los Angeles Unified School DistrictPortland Public Schools, and Aurora Public Schools.

Better Buildings Partners Educate Retail Industry at PRSM 2018

You may have heard the buzz about the Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign Awards results announced at the Professional Retail Store Maintenance (PRSM) National Conference in early April. In addition to the successful Awards Luncheon, DOE had an expanded presence at the PRSM Conference - with two education sessions!

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 Energy Manager Today, Equipment Today Magazine, Fast CompanySan Francisco Gate, 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 Challenge

Toolkit: Commercial PACE Financing for Resiliency - NEW

Commercial property assessed clean energy (CPACE) financing can be used to fund resiliency improvements that make buildings more resistant to natural disasters and other threats. CPACE policies and programs are becoming more widespread across the United States, making it easier for more customers to access CPACE financing. This toolkit provides the necessary information for building owners, operators, and occupants that may want to take advantage of CPACE financing to improve resiliency in their facilities.

Better Buildings Alliance

Characterization and Survey of Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostic (AFDD) Tools

A recent report released by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explores currently available AFDD technologies for commercial buildings. AFDD tools, or Automated Fault Detection and Diagnostics, allow building operators to monitor various building systems closely, detecting and isolating operational errors and problems in real-time. It is estimated that 5-30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted due to faults and errors in the operation of the control system.

Envelope Technology Research Team Workshop at Summit

Participate in a Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) half-day workshop Friday, August 24, 2018 where you can hear from Envelope Technology Research Team members on their experiences with designing and constructing buildings with advanced window, wall, and roof technology choices. This interactive session will cover best practices in selecting and implementing envelope technologies, BECx processes, and identification of solutions for forensic investigations. Make sure you don’t miss the rest of the envelope-focused sessions at the Better Buildings Summit.

Revolving Loan Funds in Commercial Real Estate

This concept brief is intended for commercial real estate organizations that are interested in learning about revolving loan funds for energy efficiency or renewable energy projects.

Archived Webinars

Using commercial PACE financing to improve efficiency and resiliency in buildings

Explore the current trend toward CPACE financing for resiliency and how to take advantage of this rapidly growing financing mechanism. Three leading Financial Allies present on their recently completed successful resiliency projects using CPACE. Additionally, learn about the recently launched Better Buildings CPACE Financing for Resiliency Toolkit.

Implementing ESPC Projects

This training features practical tips for carrying out an ESPC project and reviews tools such as the ESPC Virtual Technical Assistant and the Financing Decision Tree.

Considering ESPC

This training is geared towards practitioners considering ESPC for their energy efficiency projects and includes tools to aid in decision-making and establishing the conditions for ESPC.

Better Buildings Residential Network

Archived Webinars

Myth Busters: Exposing Residential Energy Efficiency Misconceptions

This Better Buildings Peer Exchange Call busts common myths in the residential energy efficiency community.

Power Up: Residential Energy Efficiency and Resiliency

Following a natural disaster, there are numerous demands on state and local governments from health and safety to transportation. Fortunately, energy efficiency can strengthen communities through increased resiliency both during and after a natural disaster. Speakers shared their experiences and explored the ways in which energy efficiency lead to increased resiliency.

The Increasing Connection Between Real Estate and Residential Energy Efficiency

Speakers shared updates concerning how energy efficiency is increasingly a part of home appraisals and sales. Efforts were discussed concerning the connection of home performance data to the MLS as well as how energy efficiency programs have engaged the real estate community.

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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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