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

Energy Department Recognizes Bullitt County Public Schools in Kentucky for Progress towards Energy Goals

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner Bullitt County Public Schools (BCPS) for the energy productivity advances made in its Mt. Washington Elementary School. Located in Shepherdsville, Kentucky and serving more than 13,000 students, the school district committed to improving its energy performance by 20% over a 10-year period across its 2 million-square-foot portfolio. The school district is well on its way to achieving this goal and has already reduced energy by 18% from a 2013 baseline. Director of DOE's Better Buildings Challenge Maria Vargas visited Mt. Washington Elementary School, the district’s Better Buildings Showcase Project, to congratulate the school on its significant energy savings achieved.

Better Plants Partners Save More Than $5 Billion in Energy Costs

DOE announced that Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have reported a savings of more than $5 billion in cumulative energy costs. DOE also recognized 12 new program partners, as well as 10 partners that achieved their energy or water savings goal this year, bringing the total number of goal achievers to 53.

Read the full 2018 Better Plants Annual Update to learn about how more than 200 Better Plants partners are reducing energy costs that increase productivity, create jobs, and strengthen manufacturing competitiveness.

DOE’s ITEAM Prize for Manufacturing Announced

DOE has launched the Individuals Taking Energy Action in Manufacturing (ITEAM) prize, a competition designed to identify and attract attention to a wide range of ideas and practices that are driving measurable energy savings at U.S. manufacturing plants to stimulate innovation at other facilities. The ITEAM Prize is a means to find individuals who were responsible for creative, specific, and innovative ideas and practices that led to significant, measurable energy savings at their manufacturing facilities, and encourage those individuals to share their ideas and practices for the benefit of U.S. manufacturing facilities nationwide.

DOE is dedicating up to $75,000 for these awards and will select up to five winners in each category of small, medium, and large manufacturers, for a total of up to 15 winners.

The application period is now open! For more information please read the official prize rules.

Monthly Top 10 Solutions

Our 10 most-viewed solutions from the past month deliver valuable insights into workforce development, energy efficiency financing, outdoor lighting, staff engagement, water benchmarking, and more. Make sure to check out past Top 10s.

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Christian Church Homes
  • The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co.
  • Renew Energy Partners – $40 million
  • Washington REIT – 8 million sf

Better Plants

  • Krage Manufacturing

Better Buildings Accelerators

Packaged Combined Heat and Power

  • AEP Ohio
  • Commonwealth Edison (ComEd)
  • MacAllister Power Systems
  • Nicor Gas
  • Philadelphia Gas Works
  • PSEG Long Island
  • Unison Energy

Smart Labs

  • Colorado School of Mines

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

H&M Closing Doors to Open Savings (RILA Retail Energy Management Program)

H&M determined that closing exterior doors resulted in approximately $10,000 in energy cost savings per year per store with no discernible impact on foot traffic, leading to the establishment of a company closed-door policy.

New Showcase Projects

Atlantic Garden Apartments

Atlantic Gardens, built in 1948, consists of 108 apartments and recently underwent a renovation that yielded 28% energy savings and 19% water savings for WinnCompanies.

Integrated Real-Time Control of Water Resource Recovery Facility

Previously, City of Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) employees had to physically staff operating stands, with little to no connection between plant or process information and the controls. To further improve efficiency, WRRF enabled real-time, plant-wide process controls for $40,000 in savings.

Neenah, Inc. – 50001 Ready Facility

The energy team at Neenah Inc.’s paper mill in Whiting, Wisconsin learned about 50001 Ready after joining Wisconsin’s utility-funded energy efficiency and renewable resource program. The mill’s manager and employees recognized 50001 Ready as a beneficial way to elevate the facility’s ongoing efforts to streamline daily operations, reduce the mill’s energy footprint, and take advantage of utility incentives to save energy.

Washington Columbia #1 and #2

Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades, including community solar, over several years resulting in 19% energy savings and $105,000 in cost savings.

New Solutions at a Glance

Pacific Tower Installs Luminaire-Level Lighting Controls

Seattle’s Pacific Tower – leased by the Washington Department of Commerce – was upgraded with luminaire-level lighting controls with integrated occupancy sensors. The project has delivered significant energy savings, with energy performance exceeding Seattle’s already progressive building energy code by 27%.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings Webinars

November 29, 2018: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
How to Become a Green Lease Leader: The Latest in High-Performance Leasing Practices and Recognition

Better Buildings and the Institute for Market Transformation have released a series of case studies profiling some of the 2018 Green Lease Leaders for their innovative efforts to drive efficiency, clean energy, health & wellness, and smart landlord-tenant engagement strategies in their properties. This webinar highlights these success stories and features advice on how to start greening your lease, as well as how to apply to be a Green Lease Leader in 2019.

Register here

December 4, 2018: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
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.

Register here

December 13, 2018: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Better Buildings Residential Network: All I Want for the Holidays Is...

On this Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call, join a festive discussion of what the residential energy efficiency community would like the future to bring, be it new tools, devices, or processes.

Register here

January 8, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Prioritizing Labs to Meet Your Energy Goal

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

Register here

February 5, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Lessons from the Field: Real World Applications that Inform R&D

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

Register here

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

Technology Webinars

January 17, 2019: 12 - 1:30 p.m. ET
Alternative Water Treatments for Cooling Towers

Researchers from NREL assessed the effectiveness of five off-the-shelf alternative water treatment (AWT) technologies and found that four of them maintained adequate water quality, reduced blowdown, and saved an average of 26% water. These four had a positive return on investment with a payback under four years. During the webinar, researchers and facility managers will discuss findings from the evaluation, share operational guidance, and answer questions. This webinar is part of the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) Proving Ground Outbrief webinar series.

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!

Atlanta Continues to Grow and Show Impressive Results in Better Buildings Challenge

Atlanta celebrated its 2018 top performers in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge (ABBC), which included private building owners, public buildings, and other community organizations. In addition to producing the highest levels of energy and water savings for the previous year, these organizations are also advocates for the ABBC and its mission. Since its inception in 2011, the ABBC has grown from 28 to 650 buildings, increasing by 90 million square feet.

NYCHA on the Leading Edge of Community Sustainability

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has shared its innovative approach to creating a comprehensive sustainability plan and continues to demonstrate the value of community partnerships. NYCHA’s latest achievement comes in the form of community solar infrastructure, further uniting NYCHA and the community it serves and opening the door for small businesses to take part in greater sustainability benefits.

Better Buildings Partners Among Top Green Universities in the Nation

Both Sierra Magazine and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) are recognizing Better Buildings Higher Education partners for their sustainability performance. The Sierra Magazine “Cool Schools” ranking featured University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) in the top spot, as well as Arizona State University and Cornell University. UC Irvine also appeared at the top of AASHE’s Sustainable Campus Index, along with Stanford University.

The Results are in for the 2018 Interior Lighting Campaign!

The Better Buildings Alliance’s Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) recognized 15 organizations for leading the way in lighting upgrades, with a combined self-reported $33 million in energy cost savings by upgrading nearly 1.4 million lighting systems to high-efficiency systems.

The Beat Blog is updated throughout the week.

Partners in the News

Recent news articles featuring Better Buildings partners are listed below. Partners have been recognized by Facility Executive, Commercial Property Executive, Engineered Systems Magazine, 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

Communities of the Future: Accelerating Zero Energy District Master Planning

This conference paper introduces zero energy districts (ZEDs), reviews the structure of the Zero Energy District Accelerator, discusses the value of energy master planning, presents barriers to ZEDs and how these are being addressed by ZED pioneers, and suggests pathways for wide-scale replication.

Better Buildings Alliance

Lenders Weigh in on Links Between Energy Efficiency and Mortgage Default Risk

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) hosted a webinar where lenders shared their perspectives on the DOE Building Technologies Office’s research findings linking energy efficiency and commercial mortgage default. Both lenders noted that while energy efficiency is not typically a consideration in mortgage underwriting, these recent research findings suggest that they should be. When asked how these findings could be incorporated into the lending process, the lenders indicated they would consider options such as interest rate discounts for energy-efficient buildings and additional mortgage loan proceeds to improve energy efficiency. This research project was conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business. Note: you must register via the link to access the webinar recording.

The Building Envelope Technologies Research Team Wants You!

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 on advancing building envelope technologies. Contact Melissa Lapsa, Team Lead, for more information.

Archived Webinars

Bright Idea: Lighting Toolkit for K-12 School Districts

Review comprehensive lighting guidance for K-12 schools along with a review of the newest lighting technologies and strategies for classroom optimization and proficiency.

Benchmarking Water: New Approaches and Opportunities for Buildings

Hear from partners that have enacted innovative water metering strategies and analytical methods that allow them to draw greater insights from their data.

Back by Popular Demand: The Best of the 2018 Better Buildings Summit

This webinar features three of the top-rated presentations from the 2018 Better Buildings Summit – a rare chance to catch one of the talks you might have missed.

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.

Archived Peer Exchange Calls

Review past peer exchange calls from the Better Buildings Residential Network. Topics include:

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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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