2020 Summit Sessions

Screenshot of a Panel discussion on Zoom, with text: The annual Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit convenes leaders across sectors and our country to discuss and share solutions, learn from one another, and create opportunities for innovation and even greater savings.

As a virtual leadership symposium, the 2020 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit hosted nearly 3,000 attendees online in 29 highly interactive sessions. Over four days, the Summit featured speakers from across sectors, including keynotes from the Under Secretary for Energy and Harvard’s healthy building expert Dr. Joseph Allen. Sessions covered a range of topics from emerging technologies to workforce development. Explore recordings grouped by topic below and catch up on any sessions you might have missed.

Opening Plenary
Hear from DOE leadership on the latest Better Buildings program activities including highlights from the 2020 Progress Report and a spotlight on the 2020 Better Buildings Challenge Goal Achievers. The plenary featured a keynote by Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes and remarks from guest speaker and healthy buildings expert Dr. Joseph Allen of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Closing Plenary: The Path Forward – Perspectives on Prioritizing Energy Efficiency
Leaders representing multiple sectors discussed how they are working across building portfolios to advance energy efficiency while supporting building occupants' health, comfort, and productivity.

  • Speakers: David Nemtzow, DOE; Jonathan Bauer, The Tower Companies; Wendell Brase, University of California, Irvine; Laura Capps, Efficiency Vermont; Rachel Gutter, International WELL Building Institute; Bill Perhacs, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Jon Utech, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

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Sector Meet-Ups

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Commercial Real Estate
Data Centers
Education
Healthcare
Industrial & Manufacturing
Local Government
Multifamily

Commercial Real Estate Meet-Up
The Commercial Real Estate sector and DOE discussed trending topics in energy efficiency. Hear from experts on electric vehicle charging stations, growth of renewable energy in the sector, and how to set energy performance standards when up against benchmarking ordinances.

  • Speakers: Audi Banny, Institute for Market Transformation; Emma Elgqvist, National Renewable Energy Lab; Drew Torbin, Black Bear Energy

Data Center Meet-Up
Better Buildings Data Center Challenge and Accelerator partners and subject matter experts from DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab held a facilitated discussion and peer exchange. Partners were recognized for their success during the Challenge and Accelerator and shared progress on projects such as liquid cooling, IT consolidation, and more.

  • Speakers: David Grant, Oak Ridge National Lab; Steve Greenberg, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; Jim Henry, Iron Mountain Data Centers; Dale Sartor, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; John Sasser, Sabey Data Centers; Hannah Stratton, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Education Sector Meet-Up
This session was designed to help participants address the challenges of operating aging education facilities and leveraging best practices to transform them into modern, resilient campuses. Industry experts highlighted advances in workforce training and data management in addition to partner case studies. Watch a targeted roundtable discussion on key barriers and opportunities for engagement on the topics of workforce, energy data, rural schools, resilience, smart labs, zero energy ready schools, and financing.

  • Speakers: Christos Chrysiliou, Los Angeles Unified School District; Brendan Hall, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Rachel Romero, National Renewable Energy Lab; Paul Torcellini, National Renewable Energy Lab

Healthcare Sector Meet-Up
Watch healthcare partners discuss energy efficiency challenges, solutions, and opportunities in this critical sector. Interactive segments focused on how to set energy goals to achieve ultra-low EUI performance and zero energy status, a discussion about trends in building electrification, as well as how energy efficiency and planning for renewables can support portfolio sustainability and resilience goals.

  • Speakers: Travis English, Kaiser Permanente; Shanti Pless, National Renewable Energy Lab

Industrial & Manufacturing Sector Meet-Up
The industrial sector meet-up was an opportunity for Better Plants partners and stakeholders to come together virtually and discuss challenges and solutions. Program manager Eli Levine provided an update on new tools and resources, highlighted partner achievements, and facilitated a Q&A session.

Local Government Sector Meet-Up
This interactive meet-up was an opportunity for local government attendees to connect and exchange best practices with peers, share accomplishments and challenges in a candid format, and learn about innovations happening at the local level.

  • Speakers: Chris Castro, City of Orlando, FL; Lauren Faber O'Conner, City of Los Angeles, CA; Grace Rink, City and County of Denver, CO

Multifamily Sector Meet-Up
Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partners, Goal Achievers, and other stakeholders shared best practices, celebrated accomplishments, and discussed strategies for multifamily housing providers to save energy and water and preserve affordable housing. Discussion topics included financing energy efficiency upgrades and the link between healthy housing and energy efficiency.

  • Speaker: Julie Klump, Preservation of Affordable Housing; Richard Maxfield, Trinity Housing Corporation of Greeley; Jonathan Owens, Corcoran Management; Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing; Ted Toon, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

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Distributed Energy Resources for Cost Savings and Resilience
Unlike conventional back-up diesel generators, distributed energy resources (DER) like combined heat and power (CHP) and battery storage coupled with renewable energy technologies can provide both cost savings and resilience benefits. In this session, Better Building partners shared their solutions for leveraging DER to reduce costs and keep operating when the grid goes down.

  • Speakers: Emma Elgqvist, National Renewable Energy Lab; Tina Jones, Chesapeake College; Isaac Panzarella, N.C. State University

The Road to Resilience: Setting Energy Savings as a Strategic Priority for Wastewater Treatment Plants
Water/wastewater treatment facilities can account for up to 30% of municipal energy use; however, through data-driven operational changes, they can achieve significant energy and cost savings. In this session, attendees learned how several wastewater treatment plants used data-informed best practices to set energy savings goals. The discussion focused on how these best practices, including establishing energy-use baselines and deploying SCADA systems, helped prioritize infrastructure improvement plans that maximized savings.

  • Speakers: Wendy Anderson, City of Denver, CO; Howard Carter, Water Resource Recovery Department for City of Saco, ME

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Early Best Practices from the Waste Reduction Pilot
Better Buildings, Better Plants waste pilot participants shared best practices for waste management, early results from the pilot, and relevant resources from DOE and beyond. There was also a moderated discussion with commercial and industrial partners to explore the waste and energy nexus as well as waste management lessons learned.

  • Speakers: Mark Pannell, Volvo Group North America; Bill Whitfield, Shorenstein

Measuring Up to the Equity Challenge: Energy Affordability and Equity Planning
When developing programs to address energy affordability, it is important to understand the concept of equity – how it is defined and the role of income, race, gender, and other factors. Learn how DOE’s Clean Energy for Low-Income Communities Accelerator addressed equity in its program toolkit and get examples from state and local governments that are working to address equity in low-income energy affordability. Attendees heard from a representative from Minnesota about the state’s engagement of Tribal participants, and how the District of Columbia is addressing the equity gap in access to energy efficiency and renewable energy in low-income households, including multifamily renters.

  • Speakers: Ariel Drehobl, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE); Michelle Gransee, Minnesota State Energy Office; Mary Otto, Minnesota Department of Commerce; Daniel White, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment

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DOE Fireside Chat with the National Labs: Trends and Emerging Technologies
DOE's fireside chat explored the newest trends in emerging technologies. Leadership from DOE's National Labs shared what's next for energy efficiency and answered audience questions about preparing for the future.

  • Speakers: Alex Fitzsimmons, DOE; Johney Green, National Renewable Energy Lab; Suresh Sunderrajan, Argonne National Lab; Jud Virden, Pacific Northwest National Lab

The Next Frontier in Lighting: Getting Connected with the Integrated Lighting Campaign
It’s well understood that switching to LED systems saves big bucks on lighting energy bills, but there’s more – today’s leading-edge lighting systems are capable of communicating with other building systems to enable additional energy-saving opportunities while collecting valuable insights about a business’s operations. However, less than 1% of systems are currently connected. This session launched DOE’s Integrated Lighting Campaign and discussed the performance of these connected systems, best practices, attractive use cases, and the benefits of joining. This interactive workshop provided a forum for asking tough questions, sharing stories, and hearing the experiences of others.

  • Speakers: Ron Bernstein, RBCG Consulting; Kandice Cohen, Trane Technologies; Felipe Leon, Pacific Northwest National Lab; Lauren Morlino, Efficiency Vermont; Michael Myer, Pacific Northwest National Lab; Kenny Seeton, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Packaged CHP eCatalog and Accelerator Program
This session focused on how packaged combined heat and power (CHP) can provide efficiency, economic, and resilience benefits to growing non-traditional CHP markets, and how DOE’s Packaged CHP eCatalog reduces project risks for both CHP users and CHP suppliers. The Packaged CHP eCatalog is an open-source, web-based system that hosts DOE-recognized packaged CHP systems provided by CHP Packagers, who commit to providing pre-engineered and tested CHP packages that meet or exceed DOE performance requirements, and CHP Solution Providers, who commit to providing responsible installation, commissioning, maintenance, and service of recognized Packaged CHP Systems.

  • Speakers: Brandon Bowser, Maryland Energy Administration; Richard Sweetser, Exergy Partners Corp.; Aaron Tasin, 2G Energy, Inc.

Unsealed: The Building Envelope Campaign
DOE’s Building Envelope Campaign team from Oak Ridge National Lab introduced the new Building Envelope Assessment Tool, which will be used to quantify the savings achieved by Campaign participants. The workshop also delved into the Building Envelope Thermal Performance (BTP) metric. With the help of real-world buildings owned or managed by early adopters of the Campaign, the session explored energy efficiency strategies for success based on four major building envelope contributors: walls, windows, roofs, and airtightness.

  • Speakers: Jessica Abralind, Arlington County Department of Environmental Services; Hayley McLeod, Oak Ridge National Lab; Dr. Simon Pallin, Oak Ridge National Lab

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Financing

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What's New in Energy Efficiency Finance?

Multifamily Financing Roundtable: Financing Affordable Housing Retrofits

What's New in Energy Efficiency Finance?
This session provided a deep dive into the state of the energy financing market. Better Buildings Financial Allies shared insights on emerging energy financing solutions such as commercial PACE, efficiency-as-a-service, and green bonds to help building owners demystify and access financing.

  • Speakers: Rachel Davis, Petros PACE Finance; Edwin Luevanos, Citizen Energy; Greg Montgomery, Abundant Power

Multifamily Financing Roundtable: Financing Affordable Housing Retrofits
Energy and water efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing can reduce owners’ operating costs and tenants’ utility bills while improving resident health and comfort. This highly interactive session examined current opportunities and challenges around financing efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing. Panelists spotlighted successful and replicable new approaches and dialogued with participants to identify obstacles. Participants then split into strategic planning and listening breakouts to discuss recommendations and potential sector-wide strategies for lowering pervasive financing barriers that stand in the way of more and deeper energy and water efficiency interventions.

  • Speakers: Thomas Deyo, Montgomery County Green Bank; Jeff Greenberger, Affordable Community Energy Services; Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing; Karyn Sper, Fannie Mae

**Financial Ally Roundtable: Please note that if you are looking for information related to the June 8 Financial Ally Roundtable that this session was invitation-only and was not recorded. The roundtable brought together current and prospective Better Buildings Challenge Financial Allies to discuss key trends, challenges, and opportunities while identifying new ways to grow the energy efficiency financing market.

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Industrial & Manufacturing Sector Meet-Up
The industrial sector meet-up was an opportunity for Better Plants partners and stakeholders to come together virtually and discuss challenges and solutions. Program manager Eli Levine provided an update on new tools and resources, highlighted partner achievements, and facilitated a Q&A session.

PechaKucha on Industrial Energy Management
Presenters covered different energy management topics using PechaKucha, a storytelling format based solely on images. The session covered topics like energy efficiency opportunities in industrial energy support systems (e.g. steam, process heating, etc.); In-Plant Trainings, energy marathons, and energy treasure hunts; employee awareness and engagement activities; effective communication tools; energy performance tracking tools and resources; and more.

  • Speakers: Rishabh Bahel, ArcelorMittal; Tari Emerson, Charter Steel; Jason Grant, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department; Paul Hartmeister, General Motors; John Troyer, Schneider Electric

Best of the Betters: 2020 Better Project and Better Practice Presentations
The Better Practice and Better Project Awards were created to recognize outstanding accomplishments in implementing and promoting industrial energy efficiency projects and programs. Learn more from several exceptional 2020 applicants and award winners.

  • Speakers: Mike Brown, Electrolux; Amy Costello, Armstrong Flooring; Robin Davis, Imperys Carbonates North America; Daniel Downen, ThyssenKrupp Elevator; Marco Gonzalez, Waupaca Foundry; Bert Hill, Volvo Group North America; John Keller, ThyssenKrupp Elevator; Dan Lefebvre, Electrolux; Nathan Onchuck, Ozinga Brothers; Kate Peterson, General Motors; David Reid, Celanese Corporation; Michael Waitek, PepsiCo; Jeff White, Ford Motor Company; Alexander Zhang, Lineage Logistics

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Multifamily Sector Meet-Up
Better Buildings Challenge Multifamily partners, Goal Achievers, and other stakeholders shared best practices, celebrated accomplishments, and discussed strategies for multifamily housing providers to save energy and water and preserve affordable housing. Discussion topics included financing energy efficiency upgrades and the link between healthy housing and energy efficiency.

  • Speaker: Julie Klump, Preservation of Affordable Housing; Richard Maxfield, Trinity Housing Corporation of Greeley; Jonathan Owens, Corcoran Management; Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing; Ted Toon, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

Maximizing Performance in Affordable Housing New Construction
How can affordable multifamily housing developers make the most of opportunities to increase performance in new construction? Which green building standards, designs, and techniques should they use? This session spotlighted different pathways to maximize energy performance in new construction while overcoming typical challenges that affordable housing developers face. Hear about lessons learned from electrification in new construction, as well as cutting-edge standards and frameworks for multifamily new construction projects including Passive House, Enterprise Green Communities, and LEED.

  • Speakers: Krista Egger, Enterprise Community Partners; Michael Hindle, Passive to Positive; Ruchi Shah, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation

Multifamily Financing Roundtable: Financing Affordable Housing Retrofits
Energy and water efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing can reduce owners’ operating costs and tenants’ utility bills while improving resident health and comfort. This highly interactive session examined current opportunities and challenges around financing efficiency upgrades in affordable multifamily housing. Panelists spotlighted successful and replicable new approaches and dialogued with participants to identify obstacles. Participants then split into strategic planning and listening breakouts to discuss recommendations and potential sector-wide strategies for lowering pervasive financing barriers that stand in the way of more and deeper energy and water efficiency interventions.

  • Speakers: Thomas Deyo, Montgomery County Green Bank; Jeff Greenberger, Affordable Community Energy Services; Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing; Karyn Sper, Fannie Mae

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Optimizing Critical Facilities

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Stump the Chumps: How to Optimize Critical Facilities

 

 

Stump the Chumps: How to Optimize Critical Facilities
Come one, come all to stump the chumps, and challenge our experts on how to optimize energy usage in critical facilities! This session enlisted some of the top experts in critical facilities like data centers, laboratories, hospitals, wastewater treatment plants, and correctional facilities, who provided high-level overviews of their fields and answered attendee questions.

  • Speakers: Wendell Brase, University of California, Irvine; Chris Halpin, NV5; Daniel Mastin, New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Jen Muir, JKMuir, LLC; Dale Sartor, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

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The Solar Project Development Process: Insights and Best Practices from Local Governments and Higher Education Institutions
This workshop highlighted common elements and best practices in the solar project development process. Learn how different steps of the project development process factor into successful project outcomes, and hear from Better Buildings partners and experts from DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program on how to get started and identify resources for your next project engagement.

  • Speakers: James Critchfield, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Ian Lahiff, City of Orlando, FL; Jesse Warren, University of Virginia

Approaches for Achieving Zero Energy Ready: Maximizing Efficiency and Controlling Costs
This session addressed pathways for achieving zero energy ready performance by maxing out on energy efficiency and controlling costs. Technical, financial, and programmatic strategies for pursuing zero energy in schools and the multifamily sector were discussed, showcasing examples that can apply to other building types. The session also highlighted hands-on resources available to convince decision-makers to pursue zero energy, design high-performance buildings, and control costs while optimizing building performance and functionality.

  • Speakers: Katie Ackerly, DBA Architects; John Chadwick, Arlington County Public Schools; Tony Hans, CMTA, Inc.; Stet Sanborn, Smith Group; Paul Torcellini, National Renewable Energy Lab

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Strategies for Success

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The Secrets of Better Buildings Goal Achievers

 

 

The Secrets of Better Buildings Goal Achievers
Better Buildings Goal Achievers are leaders in energy efficiency and stand as an example for their peers in the public and private sectors. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for becoming a goal achiever, and oftentimes partners use several unique approaches to reach their targets. Watch this interactive discussion with a diverse group of partners who shared their personal experiences and insights into the tools that led to their success and find out how to apply similar strategies to help get you across the finish line.

  • Speakers: Shelby Buso, City of Atlanta, GA; Jim Henry, Iron Mountain Data Centers; Megan Saunders, Lendlease

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Workforce Development

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Workforce Development Meet-Up

Building a Clean Energy Workforce

Workforce Development Meet-Up
Millions of Americans work on the energy infrastructure that powers the U.S., and that infrastructure works best when a skilled workforce connects the wires, pours the concrete, and seals the gaps. Today, too few Americans participate in the energy efficiency workforce overall, and of those, few have the necessary skills and expertise to install and maintain cutting-edge efficiency technologies in the retrofit and new construction markets. Learn from organizations that are leading the way in identifying the barriers and developing new resources, training systems, and pathways for people and underserved groups to join and excel in the building energy workforce. This meet-up featured the launch of the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator and the kick-off of the Advanced Building Construction Workforce Development Awards.

Building a Clean Energy Workforce
Across the country, millions of Americans participate in the clean energy workforce who make it possible to design, build, operate, and finance better buildings. Ensuring that this workforce is widespread and well prepared to deploy new technologies is vital to achieving Better Buildings Challenge goals, as well as state and local energy commitments. Hear from speakers about the landscape of the clean energy and buildings workforce today, and how gaps in existing awareness, pathways, and training can be filled.

  • Speakers: Phil Jordan, BW Research; Dean Stanberry, International Facility Management Association; Sarah Truitt, National Renewable Energy Lab

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