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

Better Plants Partners Save $6.7 Billion

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have cumulatively saved $6.7 billion in energy costs and more than 1.3 quadrillion British thermal units (BTUs). More than 220 organizations now partner with DOE through Better Plants; 44 of these companies have stepped up to the Better Plants Challenge. Across the program and Challenge, partners have more than 3,200 facilities and represent roughly 12% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint. Read more about Better Plants partner accomplishments in the 2019 Better Plants Progress Update.

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Welcome New Partners!

Better Buildings Challenge

  • Catholic University of America
  • Enhanced Capital
  • Manchester, NH

Better Plants

  • East Penn Manufacturing Co.

Better Buildings Residential Network

  • Center for Sustainable Communities
  • Energy Outreach Colorado
  • Green Compass Sustainability Consulting
  • Princes George's County, Maryland
  • Salcido Solutions
  • Thinkwell Shift

New Partner Solutions

The following Implementation Models and Showcase Projects 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

Improving Portfolio Energy Performance Using an EMIS Checklist

Jamestown, a national real estate investment and management company, partnered with DOE’s Smart Energy Analytics Campaign to develop a checklist that maximizes the effectiveness of their advanced energy management information systems (EMIS). The checklist streamlines the set-up and review processes in the EMIS platform, successfully empowering building engineers and operators to more proactively manage energy use.

UMMC Engages Leadership through ASHE "Energy to Care" Treasure Hunt

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) partnered with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) to host an energy efficiency Treasure Hunt at the UMMC campus, with a goal of identifying potential energy savings and process improvements. After two days at the facility, participants identified a total of $2.1 million in energy saving opportunities.

On-Site Energy Audits with the EZ Retrofit Tool

Wishrock Investment Group leveraged the EZ Retrofit Tool and Better Buildings technical assistance to assess the energy and water savings potential of five multifamily properties in Mississippi, where they lacked access to qualified building performance assessment professionals. Wishrock was able to create energy models, a state-wide efficiency plan, and energy performance contracts for each property.

New Showcase Projects

Metlife's District Center

Metlife Investment Management’s District Center is a first-of-its-kind “smart” commercial office building offering multiple smart tenant solutions, including apps for tenant-level control of lighting, HVAC, and other systems. Metlife also incorporated other energy-efficient features to achieve LEED Gold EB certification. Together, these features have resulted in 33% energy savings and a 31% annual cost savings.

Summit High-Performance Computing Cooling System at Oak Ridge National Lab

Summit, the world’s fastest supercomputer, requires an energy-efficient cooling system that can match its 13 megawatts of energy consumption; the data center team at Oak Ridge National Lab installed an innovative warm-water cooling system that reduced energy consumption by 25%.

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Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Webinars, Industry Events

Better Buildings Webinar Series

View the full Better Buildings Webinar schedule here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Small and Rural K-12 Schools

This webinar will cover energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and strategies available to small and rural schools to help them train a robust workforce and achieve energy and cost savings.

Register here

Tuesday, November 12, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
Rethinking Leasing: Spotlight on the 2019 Green Lease Leaders

The Green Lease Leaders program shines a spotlight on innovative landlord and tenant companies that add energy efficiency and sustainability clauses to their leases. This webinar will recognize the 2019 Green Lease Leaders who are pushing the envelope on building performance and energy-aligned leasing.

Register here

Tuesday, December 3, 2019: 3 - 4 p.m. ET
How Buildings of All Shapes and Sizes are Achieving Zero Energy

From affordable student housing to high-infill offices, a rapidly accelerating building trend is the proliferation of zero energy buildings. This webinar will explore the financial, technological, and design process innovations that make these projects a reality.

Register here

Technology Webinars

Thursday, October 24, 2019: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Health and Energy Efficiency are Trending: Learn What's Happening

Learn how the nexus of health and energy efficiency is spurring innovation. Join this Better Buildings Residential Network call to explore topics including indoor air quality, technology and engagement best practices, and a new tool: the Energy Plus Health Playbook.

Register here

Wednesday, October 30, 2019: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Smart Energy Analytics Campaign: Synthesis of Year 3 Outcomes

The Smart Energy Analytics Campaign's third year of operation has seen a significant increase in the data on how participants are using their Energy Management and Information Systems (EMIS). Join this webinar to learn about new cost information, which technologies are seeing increased uptake, and trends for the continued implementation of EMIS in commercial buildings.

Register here

Tuesday, November 5, 2019: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Renewables Integration Technical Research Team Call: Efficiency and Demand Response

Join the Renewables Integration team for a discussion exploring integrated solutions for utilities and building owners trying to bridge the gap between energy efficiency and demand response needs.

Register here

Wednesday, November 13, 2019: 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Plug and Process Load Technical Research Team Call

The Plug and Process Load (PPL) Technical Research Team will provide updates on the latest PPL research efforts following technical presentations on a recent study on zero-client computing, and Set Top Boxes and small network equipment voluntary agreements.

Register here

Thursday, November 14, 2019: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Window Treatments: An Undervalued, Highly-Efficient Energy Efficiency Measure

Up to 30% of a home's heating energy is lost through windows, especially in older homes, but many people are unaware that most types of window treatments will result in energy savings. Join the Better Buildings Residential Network to learn how windows can have an outsized impact on energy use.

Register here

Thursday, December 12, 2019: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET
Electrification: What Does It Mean for Energy Efficiency?

With utilities and homeowners increasingly interested in electric space and water heating, how might this impact the future of energy efficiency? A panel of experts will share their thoughts on this trending development during this Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call.

Register here

Industry Events and Conferences

October 20 - 23, 2019
International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) Annual Conference & Technology Fair

The I2SL Annual Conference is focused on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in laboratories and related facilities. Topic areas for 2019 include benchmarking, waste diversion, resilience, and continuous improvement.

Register here

October 27 - 30, 2019
Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference & Expo

The AASHE Conference & Expo is open to students, faculty, administrators, and industry professionals who wish to advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities.

Register here

November 17 - 20, 2019
Behavior, Energy & Climate Change (BECC) 2019 Conference

The BECC Conference is focused on understanding human behavior and decision-making and using that knowledge to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon technologies and practices to benefit the economy, security, and the environment.

Register here

November 19 - 22, 2019
Greenbuild International Conference & Expo

Greenbuild is the largest annual event for green building professionals worldwide. The 2019 theme is “A New Living Standard.” Sessions will range from design and construction to the latest in operations, engagement, and green leasing. There are several workshops and summits within the event, as well as a large trade show.

Register here

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Partners in the News

Mayo Clinic Reaches Energy Savings Goal Ahead of Schedule

Upon joining the Better Buildings Alliance, Mayo Clinic committed to improving the energy productivity of its Rochester, Minnesota campus by 20% by the end of 2020. Mayo Clinic reached this goal two years early by integrating energy efficiency into new construction projects, renovations to existing facilities, and utility and equipment upgrades.

Three New Industry Leaders Join Better Buildings Challenge

MetLife Investment Management, Kilroy Realty Corporation, and Highwoods Properties join other notable Challenge partners that own, lease, or manage commercial properties in the U.S. Commercial real estate partners represent nearly 15 billion square feet of floor space and commit to sharing energy efficiency strategies and best practices, while working with technical experts to help achieve their energy savings goals..

DOE Recognizes 10 Organizations in 2019 Interior Lighting Campaign

DOE’s Better Buildings Interior Lighting Campaign (ILC) recognized 10 organizations for integrating highly efficient lighting equipment solutions into their portfolios demonstrating typical energy savings of more than 50%. Since 2015, ILC Participants have installed or upgraded more than 3.5 million lighting and controls systems, with an expected savings of over $84 million to building owners.

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

Rural K-12 School Workforce Development and Training

This guidance document includes materials, trainings, and certification courses designed to provide building operators of rural K-12 school facilities with actionable steps to improve their energy efficiency knowledge and create comfortable, cost-saving, and energy-efficient learning environments.

Higher Education Energy Planning Overview and Summary

Carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and renewable energy hold increasing prominence in the strategic planning efforts of higher education institutions. To help institutions better understand the scope, features, and approaches covered in these energy plans, Better Buildings conducted a review of 45 such documents developed between 2008 – 2018 to identify common features and best practices.

On-Demand Webinar Library

Better Buildings has created an on-demand repository of our webinars from the past two years. Each webinar is sorted by topic for easy browsing in categories ranging from building envelope to workforce development. Visit the page to watch videos and follow along with slide decks.

Better Buildings Accelerators: What's New

A Guide to Zero Energy and Zero Energy Ready K-12 Schools

The Better Buildings Zero Energy Schools Accelerator and the National Renewable Energy Lab have created an 8-step guide for K-12 stakeholders interested in making their schools zero energy or zero energy ready. This collection of best practices and tested strategies will help school decision-makers through steps ranging from setting measurable zero energy goals to choosing the best procurement process and delivery mechanism.

Better Buildings Alliance: What's New

Financial Performance of High-Performance Buildings

DOE partnered with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Real Estate Research Institute to catalyze research around the financial performance of high-performing, energy-efficient buildings to help commercial real estate practitioners understand the impacts of and drive investment in energy efficiency. This webpage digests four of the resulting research papers and describes next steps for transforming green building investment practices.

Saving Water and Money with a Chemical-Free Water Treatment Technology for Cooling Towers

Cooling towers are an effective means of rejecting unwanted heat from cooling systems and improving overall energy performance. However, they consume large quantities of water and require treatment systems to maintain and manage water quality. This resource presents two case studies of new water treatment technologies that provide 20–50% water savings and reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals.

In case you missed it: Better Buildings Webinars on Demand

Getting to 100%: Overcoming Barriers to Tenant Data Collection in Multifamily Properties (Webinar presented October 2019)

Speakers presented innovative, outside-the-box strategies for collecting multifamily tenant energy consumption data, ranging from obtaining tenant consent to embarking on a portfolio-wide whole-property data campaign.

Back by Popular Demand: The Best of the 2019 Better Buildings Summit (Webinar presented September 2019)

This webinar revisited three popular presentations from the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit, featuring speakers from Whole Foods, Kilroy Realty, and Lineage Logistics. 

Thermal Energy Storage: The Lowest Cost Storage (Webinar presented August 2019)

This Space Conditioning Technical Research Team webinar featured industry experts on thermal energy storage and explored how it impacts energy costs and energy performance in buildings.

Better Buildings Residential Network

Compete in the 2020 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge

The annual DOE Solar Decathlon Design Challenge is a collegiate competition among teams that create residential or commercial building designs that are innovative, cost-effective, quick to build, high quality, resilient, grid-interactive, efficient, and locally responsive. DOE is now accepting applications for the 2020 Decathlon.

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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