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

2019 Summit

Only 1 Week until the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

Register today for the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit July 10-11 in the Washington, D.C. metro area (Arlington, Virginia). Featuring over 60 interactive sessions and more than 120 expert speakers, the Summit is a 2-day opportunity to join fellow energy and sustainability professionals ready to share their innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency. Attendees will engage in lively discussions focused on emerging technologies, financing projects, workforce development, resilience planning, and more. Online registration closes July 3.

Latest News and Announcements

The 2019 Better Buildings Progress Report is Now Available

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the progress made by the 900+ public and private sector organizations leading the U.S. in energy efficiency through their participation in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Better Buildings Initiative. Together, Better Buildings partners have saved 1.38 quadrillion Btus, equivalent to $8.4 billion in energy and cost savings. These market leaders are adopting emerging technologies, advancing the American workforce, and sharing their innovative approaches to energy and water efficiency. Read more in the 2019 Better Buildings Progress Report.

Energy Department Recognizes Eastman Chemical for Manufacturing Leadership

DOE recognized the energy productivity achievements of Eastman Chemical, a global advanced materials and specialty additives company headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee. As a Better Plants Challenge partner, Eastman committed to improving its energy performance across all U.S. operations by 20% while sharing strategies and results. Eastman has improved its energy productivity by approximately 12% since joining, putting the company more than halfway toward meeting its goal.

Daniel R. Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office at DOE, toured the Tennessee headquarters facility. "Seeing first-hand the energy productivity gains that Eastman has accomplished at their Tennessee operations, one of the largest chemical manufacturing sites in North America, it’s clear they have a model for other U.S. manufacturers to follow. Their energy productivity gains help cut costs, create jobs, and drive economic growth."

2019 Advanced RTU Campaign Awards Recognize Leadership in Commercial Building Rooftop Efficiency

DOE recognized eight organizations for their leadership in the Better Buildings Initiative’s Advanced Rooftop Unit (RTU) Campaign. Since the Campaign’s inception in 2013, more than 350 participants have impacted 160,000 RTUs, saving $110 million and more than 1 billion kWh annually. The Campaign provides technical resources and recognition to commercial building owners, managers, and operators that want to increase building performance and upgrade rooftop units to high-efficiency RTU technologies. Although payback periods can vary, a well implemented replacement or retrofit of RTUs with advanced controls can have a payback of one to four years. View the list of winners.

DOE and HUD Recognize Bay Area Multifamily Partners for Energy Efficiency Leadership

DOE and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognized Better Buildings partners Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC) and Mercy Housing for impressive energy efficiency advances in multifamily buildings. Both partners are on their way to meeting their goals of reducing energy use by 20% portfolio-wide over 10 years.

Representatives from DOE and HUD visited TNDC’s Alexander Residence and Mercy Housing’s 205 Jones Street Apartments to tour the buildings’ energy and water upgrades. Each organization has recently completed major energy and water efficiency improvements to these properties in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Montville Public Schools, CT
  • State of New Mexico

Better Plants

  • Durable Products, Inc.
  • GB Manufacturing
  • TitanX Engine Cooling, Inc.

Better Buildings Alliance

  • U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Better Buildings Accelerators

Packaged Combined Heat and Power

  • DTE Energy
  • Franklin Energy Services LLC
  • Highland West Energy

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • Bob Painter Consulting
  • Energy Centric
  • Two Rivers Habitat for Humanity
  • Whole House Energy Solutions, LLC

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

AT&T, Redaptive Efficiency-as-a-Service Program

Redaptive has partnered with AT&T to implement energy efficiency measures at nearly 650 facilities across the country using an efficiency-as-a-service financing solution. By integrating its platform with AT&T, Redaptive can better implement energy-efficient building equipment that reduces energy costs for the customer. So far, the program has enabled nearly $20 million in annual energy cost savings.

Using Advanced RTU Campaign Resources to Support Portfolio RTU Upgrades

Columbia Association used the Advanced RTU Campaign’s resources to identify RTUs that fit its needs, leading to the development of an RTU replacement plan and basis of design specification for its building portfolio after two successful pilot projects.

New Showcase Projects

205 Jones Street Apartments

Mercy Housing leveraged state financial assistance to implement comprehensive energy and water conservation measures at this 94-year-old property, resulting in 22% energy savings.

Bedford Co-Location Data Center Facility

By performing upgrades to all constant volume computer room air handler (CRAH) units, aging air-cooled chiller equipment, and LED lights, Digital Realty was able to achieve a 39% PUE-1 reduction in energy use at this facility.

Building Automation System Upgrade Project

General Motors made upgrades to the building automation system (BAS) at its Romulus Powertrain plant, migrating numerous separate systems into a common BAS with advanced scheduling and operating technology. The project had a 2-year simple payback with local utility incentives.

Casa Arabella

This new construction high-performance multifamily building, a partnership between the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation and The Unity Council, is designed to expand affordable housing options within the Bay Area while providing advanced energy efficiency features. It is expected to deliver 18% energy savings beyond standard code.

Holistic Compressed Air Optimization

At TE Connectivity’s facility in Lickdale, Pennsylvania, the manufacturing process is heavily reliant on compressed air for production; compressed air systems account for a significant amount of the company’s energy footprint. TE undertook a 5-phase project that has lowered compressed air energy costs, saving over $220,000 a year.

St. Botolph Apartments

Boston Housing Authority has undertaken a suite of energy and water efficiency upgrades at this Back Bay property. The upgrades, which include the installation of variable refrigerant flow heat pumps, are expected to reduce source energy use by more than 30% and save over $65,000 a year.

Union Gardens

Danville Development conducted upgrades to this low-income senior community to improve both the property's energy performance and residents' quality of life. The measures reduced energy use by 23% and saved over $15,000 annually.

New Solutions-at-a-Glance

Fort Lauderdale Heat Map Tool

The City of Fort Lauderdale developed a no-cost, replicable heat map tool to provide greater visibility into electricity usage within city-owned buildings, allowing the city to identify energy and operational efficiency opportunities more effectively and evaluate the impacts of efficiency measures.

Green Ideas Challenge for Hospitality

The sustainability team at Las Vegas Sands’ Venetian and Palazzo resorts implemented the Green Ideas Challenge to encourage staff to submit ideas for energy, water, and waste improvement opportunities at the properties. The winning ideas are implemented and the staff receive prizes like cash or show tickets.

Grocery Store Lighting Upgrade Using Efficiency-as-a-Service

Allumia funded and installed a new LED lighting system for Hilltop Red Apple grocery store using Allumia’s efficiency-as-a-service offering. This enabled Hilltop to upgrade its entire lighting system all at once with no upfront costs and guaranteed net-positive energy and maintenance savings.

Technology Subscription for Assisted Living Provider

Sparkfund’s Technology Subscription enabled Affinity Living Group to get new interior and exterior lighting without having to divert resources away from serving residents. After finding success at three pilot locations, Affinity expanded indoor and outdoor lighting upgrades via the technology subscription across 16 locations.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit

July 10-11, 2019
*Pre-conference activities on July 9

This annual event for Better Buildings, Better Plants partners and other key stakeholders provides the opportunity for professionals to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency. Attendees can expect two days of interactive sessions with industry experts and market leaders as well as many opportunities to network with peers.

Register here

Technology Webinars

July 25, 2019: 1 - 2:30 P.M. ET
Connected Homes and the Grid: Flipping the Switch on the Script

Hear about how our nation's electricity grid is changing rapidly and what it means for your residential energy efficiency work. Get updates from experts in the field on various initiatives related to the subject of connected homes and the grid.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

July 13-16, 2019
NACUBO Annual Meeting

This annual event from the National Association of College and University Business Officers focuses on issues affecting the higher education sector, including facilities upgrades and operations, technology advancements, and financial challenges. Energy and data issues are among the session topics. 

Register here

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Partners in the News

Smart Energy Analytics Campaign Recognizes 2019 Participants

The Better Buildings Alliance’s Smart Energy Analytics Campaign recognized participants across seven categories for their achievements in using technologies like Energy Information Systems and Fault Detection and Diagnostics to improve the energy performance in their buildings.

Washington University, St. Louis Leverages Solar for Student Engagement, Workforce Development

Multitasking is an essential part of keeping on top of your to-do list. Better Buildings partners are no exception when it comes to achieving their energy goals. Washington University in St. Louis used a new $3.5 million solar installation project to engage students in larger campus sustainability efforts while giving them experience working with renewables.

New DOE Research Strengthens Business Case for Building Commissioning

The newest research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Building Commissioning Association shows that building commissioning remains a cost-effective way to improve the operation of your building while lowering energy use and mitigating other risks associated with poor building performance. The study provides the world’s largest and most current resource of commissioning cost and benefit data for commercial buildings.

Working Successfully with Your Utility: Learning from Better Buildings Partners

Partnering with your local utility can be a valuable step towards making your buildings more energy-efficient, but it can be challenging to know what help is available and where to start. We have created a short guide that highlights common utility offerings and success stories from Better Buildings partners who have leveraged them to achieve greater energy savings.

Better Buildings Partners and Affiliates among 2019 ENERGY STAR® Partners of the Year

Congratulations to our Better Buildings Partners and Affiliates recognized as 2019 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award winners! Check out the full list.

Shorenstein Recognized in San Francisco for Energy Efficiency Advancements

Shorenstein implemented numerous energy efficiency upgrades at its Market Square property in San Francisco and hosted DOE for a tour highlighting its energy-efficient features. Improvements include new and renovated mechanical and electrical systems, modernization of existing elevators, and upgrades to the existing HVAC systems.

Recent news articles featuring Better Buildings partners are listed below. Partners have been recognized by Facility Executive, Energy Manager TodayGreen Lodging News, and more.

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

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New Resources

Sector-Specific Energy Financing Primers

Through Better Buildings, DOE has developed a suite of energy financing primers that summarize how energy efficiency and renewable energy financing is done for a given market sector. The primers provide an overview of key barriers, common financing mechanisms, case studies, market data, and more. Access them in the Better Buildings Financing Navigator, or view them individually:

Better Buildings Alliance: What's New

Plug Load Management (PLM) System Field Study

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) published a report on their Plug Load Management (PLM) System Field Study. NREL investigated PLM technology in two retail buildings, calculated associated energy and costs savings, and captured qualitative performance outcomes.

2019 Interior Lighting Campaign Recognition Planned at Illumination Engineering Society (IES)

The IES will host the 2019 Better Buildings Alliance’s Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) Recognition event on August 9, 2019 at its annual conference. Recognition categories include both lighting retrofit and new construction projects, best use of controls, largest number of projects and annual energy savings, and a new “Innovation” category added this year for integrated controls for plug loads and HVAC, plus integrated systems and lighting. For more information, visit the ILC online.

Archived Webinars

Air Management Solutions for Small- to Medium-Sized Data Centers

This webinar focused on practical solutions for air management in small- and medium-sized data centers, including air management techniques, practical applications, and lessons learned from case studies.

Innovative Wall Technologies for Commercial Buildings

In this webinar from the Envelope Technology Research Team, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented on a Fort Drum project using modified atmosphere insulation (MAI) panels. Participants also heard about updated research on existing walls, cross-laminated timber (CLT), and investigations of a building enclosure performance metric.

Better Buildings Residential Network

DOE Launches Home Improvement Expert

DOE’s Building America program has a new resource called Home Improvement Expert (HIE) designed to help homeowners make energy-related home improvements. HIE offers 21 individual home improvement checklists that can be attached to vendor contracts to ensure quality work, increase compliance, and help vendors be more competitive. Access the HIE checklists here.

Solar Decathlon Collegiate Winners Announced

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University team was named Grand Winner at DOE’s Solar Decathlon Design Challenge Weekend. The event was held April 12-14, 2019 at NREL and included 45 finalist teams representing 37 collegiate institutions.

The Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly-efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy. Learn more here.

Archived Peer Exchange Calls/Lessons Learned

Review past peer exchange calls from the Better Buildings Residential Network here. Recent topics include:

Key takeaways from these presentations are translated into 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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