2021 Summit Sessions
The 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit features plenaries, sector meet-ups, interactive workshops, special events, and engaging and informative sessions based on feedback from our partners. View the full slate of sessions and speakers below. This virtual event is free to attend. For tips on having a successful virtual Summit experience, click here.
Collecting and Managing Your Building Energy Data
Speakers: Fernando Berjano, El Paso, TX; Andrew Held, Washington, D.C.; Kevin Keene, Pacific Northwest National Lab; Nicholas Long, National Renewable Energy Lab; Marta Marello, Miami-Dade County, FL; Robin Mitchell, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; Sarah Newman, Pacific Northwest National Lab; Chris Sanchez, Miami-Dade County, FL
Learn how to save time while getting more from your data using DOE’s building energy tools. Whether you’re an expert or just getting started, this hands-on walkthrough of the Asset Score, Audit Template, SEED Platform, and Unique Building ID applications has something for everyone. Interested participants can test drive the tools during an expert-led “BYOData!” session, and share their thoughts with other attendees as the group works through each tool. Finally, we’ll discuss an exciting new policy tool for state and local governments – the building performance standard – and how the tools featured in this workshop can help implement one in your jurisdiction.
Planning for Power: Tools and Resources for Energy Resilience
Speakers: Nicholas DeForest, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; Emma Elgqvist, National Renewable Energy Lab
Building managers, community planners, and policymakers are turning to distributed generation and storage technologies to help critical facilities remain operational when they are needed most. In this “hands-on” workshop, experts will guide participants through publicly available online tools for energy resilience planning, such as REopt Lite and DER-CAM, that can assist in site-specific optimization of onsite generation and backup power. Attendees will also learn about available funding resources to help resilience projects come to fruition. Join us to learn how to apply these resources to your own projects, engage with experts in real time, and hear about opportunities to stay connected.
Low Carbon Pilot Roundtable
This roundtable discussion is for pilot participants to facilitate peer learning, discussion, organizational commitments, and refine specific strategies for achieving carbon-reduction goals.
Accelerating Technological Innovation in the Water Space
Speakers: Rishabh Bahel, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.; Christobel Ferguson, The Water Research Foundation; Al Hildreth, General Motors; Erin Partlan, The Water Research Foundation; Prakash Rao, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; Kiran Thirumaran, Oak Ridge National Lab
Industrial wastewater treatment facilities can be a proving ground for new technologies later adopted by municipal facilities. This session will discuss the intersection between industrial and municipal wastewater treatment, specifically highlighting some industrial facilities that are providing municipal water/wastewater treatment services to help identify technology development and deployment needs for enabling synergistic operations.
- Commercial Sector Meet-up
- Industrial Sector Meet-up
- K-12 Schools Sector Meet-up
- Local Government Sector Meet-up
- Multifamily Sector Meet-up
- Workforce Accelerator Meet-up
Commercial Sector Meet-up
Speakers: Alysson Vogt Blackwelder, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); Kirby Brendsel, Welltower; Kara Brooks, American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE); Dean Stanberry, International Facility Management Association (IFMA); Mary Evers Statz, UW Health
Join DOE and partners in the commercial building sector, including commercial real estate, hospitality, healthcare, higher education, retail, food service, and grocery for a panel discussion and engagement opportunities. We will address key trends in the sectors, new resources and best practices from Better Buildings, and a closer look at the impacts of the pandemic, such as evolving building needs and space types.
Industrial Sector Meet-up
Speakers: Diane Bauer, U.S. Department of Energy; Jane Flegal, White House Council on Environmental Quality
The industrial sector meet-up is an opportunity for Better Plants partners and stakeholders to come together virtually and discuss challenges and solutions. Program manager Eli Levine will provide an update on new tools and resources and highlight partner achievements, followed by a fireside chat on the industrial decarbonization challenge.
K-12 Schools Sector Meet-up
Speakers: Katy Hatcher, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Anisa Heming, USGBC Center for Green Schools; John Lord, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
The K-12 Schools meet-up is an opportunity for attendees to connect and exchange best practices with peers and share accomplishments and challenges in a candid, interactive format.
Local Government Sector Meet-up
Speaker: Katie Bergfeld, Washington, D.C.; Fernando Berjano, City of El Paso, TX; Adam Guzzo, U.S. Department of Energy; Brendan Hall, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Dominic McGraw, City of Philadelphia, PA; Amy Royden-Bloom, U.S. Department of Energy
The Local Government meet-up is an opportunity for attendees to connect and exchange best practices with peers, as well as share accomplishments and challenges in a candid, interactive format.
Multifamily Sector Meet-up
Speakers: Caitlin Rood, Mercy Housing; Rebecca Schaaf, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future.
Connect with your multifamily housing peers at the Multifamily Meet-up and share challenges and successes in reaching energy efficiency goals. We will hear from HUD’s new leadership on implementing the Biden Administration’s climate and clean energy agenda in affordable housing. An interactive discussion will explore how partners can build upon successes in energy efficiency to set and achieve low-carbon goals.
Workforce Accelerator Meet-up
Speakers: Adele Ferranti, NYSERDA; Frank Mruk, Roxbury Community College; Mary Ellen Sprenkel, The Corps Network
Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator partners will share best practices for developing the energy efficiency workforce through three key areas: Building Interest, Streamlining Career Pathways, and Improving Skills.
- Accelerating Building Decarbonization: A White House Roundtable with Government and Industry
Speakers: Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor, White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy; Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy; Michael Regan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator; Katy Kale, U.S. General Services Administration Acting Administrator; Mark Chambers, White House Council on Environmental Quality (Moderator)
Join core members of the Biden Administration as they convene industry stakeholders in dialogue on equitable decarbonization of America's buildings, associated opportunities for jobs, and new programs for efficient electrified buildings. To learn more about the speakers, click here.
Emerging Trends and Technologies from DOE's National Labs
Speakers: Angela Becker-Dippmann, Pacific Northwest National Lab; Martin Keller, National Renewable Energy Lab; Tom Kurfess, Oak Ridge National Lab
Join leaders from DOE’s National Labs as they share their insights into the future of energy efficiency and highlight the newest trends and emerging technologies. Kathleen Hogan, Acting Under Secretary for Science and Energy at DOE, will moderate the discussion. For more information about the speakers, click here.
Greatest Hits from the DOE Waste Reduction Pilot
Speakers: Elizabeth Cole, City of Beaverton, OR; Clare Lumkong, Bristol-Myers Squibb; Brett Marczewski, General Motors; Jason McIntyre, USAA Real Estate
Join this session for a look at the highlights from the first year of DOE's Waste Reduction Pilot. DOE will spotlight the Pilot's "greatest hits," including new solutions and findings from multiple working groups. There will also be a panel discussion covering several waste reduction and diversion topics, including data and measurement, engagement and outreach, and external support and frameworks.
Technical experts from DOE's National Laboratories will be available to answer questions and discuss energy performance trends in technology, process, data, tools, and more. To learn more and sign up, click here.
- Five Key Trends in Energy Finance
- Unleashing the Power of Community Solar for Multifamily Buildings
- Best of the Betters: 2021 Better Project Presentations
- Innovative Strategies for Resilience at Critical Facilities
Five Key Trends in Energy Finance
Speakers: Donnel Baird, BlocPower; Devesh Nirmul, Counterpointe SRE; Mark Orlowski, Sustainable Endowments Institute; Brenna Walraven, Corporate Sustainability Strategies
The energy efficiency and renewable energy finance space is constantly adapting to new market developments and financing innovations. During this session, several market experts will weigh in on recent trends in several key financial products, including:
- How self-managed green revolving funds can help institutions recover and finance their energy efficiency/renewable energy retrofits after the pandemic;
- Expansion of efficiency-as-a-service into municipal, university, school, and hospital (MUSH) markets;
- Expansion of energy savings performance contracts (ESPC) into the commercial space;
- Green bond deployment trends; and
- Retroactive commercial PACE (CPACE) financing unlocking capital for businesses during the pandemic.
Unleashing the Power of Community Solar in Multifamily Buildings
Speakers: Darien Crimmin, WinnCompanies; Jenny Heeter, National Renewable Energy Lab; Christopher Jedd, Denver Housing Authority
This session will survey the current regulatory landscape for community solar in multifamily housing and explore promising strategies to overcome barriers. Multifamily partners will present their experiences partnering with local organizations to deliver community solar projects that result in utility savings to low-income residents and bring workforce and economic development opportunities to the community.
Best of the Betters: 2021 Better Project Presentations
Speakers: Alex Floyd, Tyson Foods; Todd Jackson, SugarCreek Packing Co.; Balaji Jayaseelan, Graham Packaging; Margaret Ann Marsh, Flowers Foods, Inc.; Brian Mohr, 3M; Brett Rasmussen, Nissan North America; Don Scarsella, Owens Corning; Michael Stein, Lockheed Martin; Prasath Vinayagamoorthy, 3M
Through the Better Project award, DOE recognizes partners annually for outstanding accomplishments in implementing industrial energy, water, and waste projects at individual facilities. Learn more from several exceptional 2021 applicants and award winners.
Innovative Strategies for Resilience at Critical Facilities
Speakers: Jason Grant, Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department; Chris Halpin, Energy Efficiency Services, LLC; James Henry, Iron Mountain Data Centers
This session will feature innovations in energy planning for resilience at critical facilities, including wastewater treatment plants, correctional facilities, data centers, and labs.
- Workshop Your Voice: Successful External Communications
- Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Collaborating to Implement Carbon Reduction Goals
- Commercial PACE Toolkit: New Resources to Propel Your CPACE Program
- Choose Your Own Solution: An Interactive Panel on Solving Common Energy Efficiency Barriers
Workshop Your Voice: Successful External Communications
Speaker: Bryan Cohen, C+C
From crafting a compelling narrative to sharing data-driven results, how you talk about your efficiency work matters. Hear from the Better Buildings communications team to learn best practices for external communications – like writing for your audience and finding a media hook – and even workshop some common but tricky scenarios yourselves. Join this session to strengthen your PR chops and get your projects the recognition they deserve.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Collaborating to Implement Carbon Reduction Goals
Speakers: Ian Lahiff, City of Orlando, FL; Andrea Trimble, University of Virginia; Jon Utech, Cleveland Clinic
Realizing progress toward ambitious goals is best achieved by an integrated team. Hear from leading Better Buildings partners about structuring stakeholder engagement toward carbon reduction goals across building portfolios. This session will focus on team implementation – specifically who, when, and how – for collaborating across institutions, local governments, and national portfolios. Panelists will also present lessons learned from field validations of zero-energy building projects.
Commercial PACE Toolkit: New Resources to Propel Your CPACE Program
Speakers: Sam Cramer, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO); Greg Leventis, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; Maryrose Myrtetus, City of Philadelphia, PA
The Commercial PACE (CPACE) Toolkit for States and Local Governments is a compilation of resources intended to address persistent barriers facing the adoption and implementation of CPACE financing programs. Join this session to learn how you can put these resources to work in your jurisdiction.
Choose Your Own Solution: An Interactive Panel on Solving Common Energy Efficiency Barriers
Join the Better Plants team as we run through a series of common yet challenging barriers that partners may encounter on their journey to increasing energy efficiency. Audience members will vote on choices and actions as we work together to determine the best approach for overcoming these problems. While voting and participation will be anonymous, audience interaction and dialogue is encouraged!
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- When Progress Flows: Water Reduction, Reuse, and Creative Solutions
- Driving Adoption of High-Impact Envelope and Integrated Lighting Strategies
- The Role of Architects, Engineers, and Contractors in Zero-Carbon Buildings
- Making the Case for Energy Efficiency
When Progress Flows: Water Reduction, Reuse, and Creative Solutions
Speakers: Jaime Gonzalez Brana, Owens Corning; Joan Kowal, Emory University; Ken Rosenfeld, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
Water reduction solutions come from a variety of building and manufacturing operations, including greywater systems, technology and fixture upgrades, optimization, and behavioral changes. In this session, Better Buildings partners will share diverse, creative solutions for water reductions across multiple sectors.
Driving Adoption of High-Impact Envelope and Integrated Lighting Strategies (2-part session, 45 minutes each)
Speakers: Jay Amundson, University of Minnesota; Chris Chmiel, Athens County, OH; Scott Hackel, Slipstream; Ginger Scoggins, Engineered Designs Inc.
Part 1: High-Impact Envelope Strategies – A high-performing building envelope is crucial to reducing the overall energy demand of a building. Join us from 11:00 - 11:45 AM ET to learn about a metric that measures your building envelope performance and can aid in design decisions, and hear success stories from the first year of DOE's Building Envelope Campaign.
Part 2: Integrated Lighting Strategies – Integrating your lighting system with other building systems can enable deeper whole-building energy savings and non-energy benefits with significant value-add. Join us from 11:45 AM - 12:30 PM ET and learn what the research shows, get pointers on making a lighting integration project successful, and find out what building owners are doing to save energy and operate their buildings smarter from DOE's Integrated Lighting Campaign first-year entries for recognition.
The Role of Architects, Engineers, and Contractors in Zero-Carbon Buildings
Speakers: Sammy Houssainy and Paul Torcellini, National Renewable Energy Lab
Architects, engineers, and contractors (A/E/C) are critical partners in working with building owners to create buildings that deliver top value for their clients. This collaborative discussion will highlight real-world strategies from leading A/E/C firms on how they are helping their clients deliver zero-carbon and other high-performance buildings. It will also be a chance to learn about the Better Buildings Design and Construction Allies program and how you can get involved.
Making the Case for Energy Efficiency
Speakers: Andrew Hejnar, 3M; Erin Hiatt, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA); Scott Moline, Energy Strategist
The benefits of conducting energy efficiency (EE) upgrades in buildings and manufacturing plants may seem obvious to some; however, this is not the case for many who are unaware of the non-energy benefits, including enhanced building performance and productivity, that result from such improvements. This session will focus on the most effective ways to sell and communicate EE-related projects internally. It will also explore how active partners identify the multiple benefits of EE upgrades and train energy consultants in conducting energy assessments.
Virtual Building Tours
Take a virtual tour with partners Ford Motor Company, Iron Mountain Data Centers, and the State of Maryland to learn about their unique energy-saving features, then join a Q&A as they share details about their energy efficiency efforts. To learn more and sign up, click here.
- The Anatomy of EaaS: How Efficiency-as-a-Service is Changing the Finance Game
- A New Frontier: Electrification in Multifamily Housing
- Best of the Betters: 2021 Better Practice Presentations
- Addressing Energy Burden and Workforce Development in Low-Income Communities
The Anatomy of EaaS: How Efficiency-as-a-Service is Changing the Finance Game
Speakers: Julia Berg, Redaptive; Aaron Block, Allumia
Efficiency-as-a-service (EaaS) is a pay-for-performance financing structure that enables building owners to implement energy and water projects by integrating with a service provider. Along with the growth of this financing model, there has been a proliferation of contract terms and structures. Join this session to learn about the key differences in service definitions directly from organizations providing EaaS.
A New Frontier: Electrification in Multifamily Housing
Speakers: Rory Christian, New York City Housing Authority; Jordan Dentz, The Levy Partnership; Andrew McNamara, Bright Power; Edwin Mendez, New York City Housing Authority; Julie Klump, Preservation of Affordable Housing
There is a growing trend toward all-electrification of new and existing buildings in multifamily housing as a means to achieve significant cost savings, reduce carbon pollution, and improve indoor air quality and public safety. This session will address programmatic and technological approaches to going all-electric in multifamily housing, exploring current challenges in domestic hot water, technologies for space heating using heat pumps, and more.
Best of the Betters: 2021 Better Practice Presentations
Speakers: Casey Dupuie, Steelcase, Inc.; Al Hildreth, General Motors; Luis Quinones, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems; David Reid, Celanese Corporation; Blair Sturm, Saint-Gobain Corporation; Jash Vora, Lineage Logistics
The Better Practice award is presented annually to companies for innovative and industry-leading accomplishments in implementing and promoting practices, principles, and procedures of energy management. Learn more from several exceptional 2021 applicants and award winners.
Addressing Energy Burden and Workforce Development in Low-Income Communities
Speakers: Tonya Gayle, Green City Force; Vlada Kenniff, New York City Housing Authority; Kenya Stump, Commonwealth of Kentucky; Yasmin Yacoby, State of Rhode Island
Low-income households face a disproportionately higher energy burden, three times higher than for non-low-income households. Join this session to learn from organizations within the Better Buildings Initiative and beyond that have successfully targeted low- and moderate-income energy initiatives through innovative methods, including using DOE’s Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool and offering workforce development opportunities to low-income residents.
- Renewables and Advanced Controls: Why Now is the Time
- Easy as ABC: How Advanced Building Construction Creates Efficient, Affordable, and Appealing Solutions for Low-Carbon Buildings
- Health, Efficiency, and Building Operations: Insights from the Pandemic and a Look Ahead
Renewables and Advanced Controls: Why Now is the Time
Speakers: Dana Schneider, Empire State Realty Trust; Tim Wilson, Gundersen Health System; Luba Zhaurova, City of Worcester, MA
Behind-the-meter energy resources are now more affordable than ever. A more dynamic electric grid with variable generation provides even more opportunities for building owners to leverage their facilities as tools for deeper cost savings. Come hear how storage, on-site renewables, and advanced controls can all help you save money and increase demand flexibility.
Easy as ABC: How Advanced Building Construction Creates Efficient, Affordable, and Appealing Solutions for Low-Carbon Buildings
Speakers: Tim Kohut, National Core; Christina McPike, WinnCompanies; Lucas Toffoli, RMI
We live in an era of high-tech innovation, so why are most of our homes and buildings still using inefficient technologies and construction practices that have hardly changed in over a century? DOE’s Advanced Building Construction (ABC) Initiative is disrupting the building industry by catalyzing the union of superior energy efficiency and low-carbon solutions with modernized approaches to construction. ABC makes it easier and more affordable to achieve superior quality retrofits and new buildings while re-energizing our manufacturing industry and workforce. Join this session and learn how DOE and its partners are working with private- and public-sector stakeholders across the buildings and construction sectors to transform the buildings market with ABC solutions.
Health, Efficiency, and Building Operations: Insights from the Pandemic and a Look Ahead
Speakers: Jonathan Bauer, The Tower Companies; Sara Neff, Kilroy Realty; Rishi Shah, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
Multiple building sectors are considering occupant health, wellness, and productivity alongside efficiency and operations. This session will explore how partners have realized the co-benefits of health, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency. Partners will share their insights on building operations, looking back through the pandemic and ahead for more healthy, resilient buildings. From green leasing practices to curtailment, explore tools and practices at the health-energy nexus.
Leading the Way to a Diverse and Qualified Workforce
Speakers: Aneysha Bhat, Perennial Culture; Roger Ebbage, Lane Community College; Teresa Piazza, Association of Energy Engineers (AEE); Erick Shambarger, City of Milwaukee, WI
In this session, Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator leaders will share their best practices for developing a diverse and qualified building efficiency workforce that enables high-performance buildings. Learn how these leaders are building interest, streamlining pathways, and improving skills in a variety of ways, from developing new workforce programs to engaging underrepresented communities and creating new resources such as curricula, trainings, websites, and education modules.
Pathways to Zero: Designing Impactful Carbon Reduction Targets
Speakers: Matt Donath, City of Milwaukee, WI; Jim Landau, MetLife Investment Management; Mark Puchalski, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
More than 25% of Fortune 500 companies have committed to dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions through Science-Based Targets, RE100, or a carbon neutrality pledge. However, not all targets are equal, and emissions reduction programs for commercial buildings and plants vary widely in both timeframe and approach. Drawing from the newly launched Low Carbon Pilot, this session will address common questions, considerations, and pitfalls for setting carbon targets and designing programs to meet them.
Speakers: Paula Glover, Alliance to Save Energy; Alexandra Harry, Catholic University of America; Sara Neff, Kilroy Realty; Susan Rochford, Legrand North America
Women leaders in the energy and sustainability industries share their perspectives on workplace diversity, mentorship, and the challenges and opportunities in being a woman in the buildings space.
A Conversation with Green Lease Leaders
Join the 2021 Green Lease Leaders as they explore how green leasing offers a competitive advantage for multiple sectors, helping buildings be more flexible, save money, and reduce climate and health risks. To learn more and sign up, click here.
- Beyond the Low-Hanging Fruit for Energy Efficiency
- Pathways to Community-wide Energy Resilience
- Have It Your Way: An Energy Efficiency Round-Robin
- Balancing the Benefits of Community Solar in Multifamily Housing
Beyond the Low-Hanging Fruit for Energy Efficiency
Speakers: Wendell Brase, University of California, Irvine; Peter Isabell, Life Time Fitness; Becca Rushin, Jamestown
You've rolled out your LEDs and Building Automation Systems across your portfolio, now what? In this session, you'll learn about strategies to get even more energy savings from your buildings through the utilization of integrated technology packages, smart energy analytics, and more!
Pathways to Community-wide Energy Resilience
Speakers: Chris Castro, City of Orlando, FL; Rob Cox, Energy Production & Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte; Cherylyn Kelley, State of Missouri; Beth Schrader, New Hanover County, NC
Communities nationwide are increasingly preparing for impacts from a range of natural disasters. From prioritizing upgrades at critical facilities to leveraging innovative funding opportunities, this session will showcase collaborative partnerships and planning pathways to creating more resilient communities, highlighting the role energy efficiency can play in the planning process. It will also highlight timely DOE resilience tools to aid in planning and funding.
Have It Your Way: An Energy Efficiency Round-Robin
Speakers: Sasha Mackler, Bipartisan Policy Center; Lily Proom, Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance; Talia Rudee, CDP; Brian Seitz, Frito-Lay Inc.; Gordon Smith, Electrolux; Adam Vucelich, Oak Ridge National Lab; Alissa Yakali, Honda
In this round-robin workshop, attendees will join small breakouts based on energy efficiency topics of interest – including decarbonization and science-based targets, renewables, supply chain, and finance – and report their discussion outcomes to the group as a whole.
Balancing the Benefits of Community Solar in Multifamily Housing
Speakers: Jeffrey Cook, National Renewable Energy Lab; Ian Fischer, Urban Ingenuity; Kranti Malik, BRIDGE Housing Corporation; Andrew Martin, National Housing Trust; Nicole Steele, U.S. Department of Energy; Christopher White, New York City Housing Authority
Multifamily housing providers and tenants can both benefit from the deployment of community solar projects. These projects can create direct electricity bill savings as well as indirect community or workforce benefits. Join DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and Better Buildings partners for a discussion about balancing the financial viability of solar projects with meaningful direct and/or indirect benefits to tenants. Multifamily housing providers will explore implementation pathways for various approaches and lessons learned from the field. The panel will be followed by a facilitated workshop where attendees will consider different approaches for balancing building owner and tenant benefits when designing community solar projects.
Join Better Buildings and Better Plants leaders from the industrial, local government, multifamily, and retail sectors as they discuss the issues, trends, and challenges impacting their work and the market at large. This discussion will be moderated by Kelly Speakes-Backman, Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. To learn more about the speakers, click here.
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.
Better Buildings Goal Achievers are leaders in energy efficiency and stand as an example for their peers. Meet the partners who have met their commitments to reduce portfolio-wide energy use by 20% - 25% in 10 years or less.
DOE’s Better Buildings Solution Center is the place to find proven and cost-effective energy and water efficiency solutions by barrier, building type, sector, technology, and more.