Special Events

2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit Special Events

Click here to register and sign up for the sessions you wish to attend

In addition to interactive, engaging sessions, the 2021 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit features multiple special events. These include the return of favorites like Ask-an-Expert, as well as Virtual Building Tours and a spotlight on Green Lease Leaders. Explore the details below and sign up when you register.

Click here to see details for Ask-an-Expert  Click here to see details for the Virtual Building Tours  Click here to see details about the Green Lease Leaders

If you have already registered for the Summit and want to sign up for a special event, click here.

Tuesday, May 18: 12:45 - 1:45 PM ET


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. Attendees are encouraged to participate and discuss emerging technologies, strategies from their respective fields, and ideas for their own organizations. This year's Ask-an-Expert lineup includes:

Mahabir Bhandari
Building Envelope
Michael Deru
Heating, Cooling, & Ventilation
Hannah Kramer
Energy Management & Information Systems
Rois Langner
Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings, Renewables Integration
Michael Myer
Sachin Nimbalkar
Industrial Process Heating & Waste Heat Recovery
Prakash Rao
Water Efficiency
Thomas Wenning
Industrial Energy Assessments, Decarbonization

Click MORE to meet the Experts.


Mahabir Bhandari, Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) 
Dr. Mahabir Bhandari is an R&D Staff member in ORNL’s Building Envelope & Urban Systems Research Group. He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of building energy performance. He is LEED Accredited Professional Building Design + Construction (BD+C) and a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certified simulator and has actively participated in several LEED and sustainability projects and contributed significantly in building energy software product developments. Prior to joining ORNL, Mahabir worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Technical Director at DesignBuilder Software USA. In recent years, his focus has been on fenestration research, whole-building energy simulation, manual and auto-calibration, industrial energy data analysis for energy savings impact, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) deployment analysis, building energy monitoring and performance analysis, and the evaluation and integration of energy-efficient technologies in buildings. He serves on the NFRC and Attachment Energy Rating Council Board of Directors. He received his Ph.D. at the Center for Energy Studies of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

Michael Deru, National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) 
Dr. Michael Deru joined NREL in 2000 and manages the Systems Performance section in the Commercial Buildings Research Group. He leads projects on the development and testing of novel HVAC systems, building performance simulations, performance metrics for sustainability, source energy and emissions factors, water, and the U.S. Life Cycle Inventory Database. Michael received an R&D 100 award in 2005 and is very active within ASHRAE. Prior to joining NREL, Michael worked as a nuclear plant engineer with Westinghouse Electric Corp. supporting the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power program.

Hannah Kramer, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL)
Hannah Kramer is an Affiliate to the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division at LBNL. Her research focuses on building energy performance monitoring and diagnostics and supporting how owners implement monitoring-based commissioning. Hannah has been the author of numerous studies and resources on commissioning and building performance. She holds a master’s degree from the Energy and Resources Group from the University of California, Berkeley.

Rois Langner, National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
Rois Langner has worked as a building scientist and architectural engineer in the Commercial Buildings Research Group at NREL since the beginning of 2010. Her past research efforts have focused on building energy efficiency projects that utilize OpenStudio software to analyze and optimize building design and performance for military and large commercial buildings. She has worked with organizations to develop, implement, and maintain energy management policies and systems for continual energy improvement. More recently, she has worked to support the small commercial building sector in overcoming barriers that inhibit the adoption of energy efficiency solutions. Additionally, Rois leads the Better Buildings Renewables Integration Technology Research Team.

Michael Myer, Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL)
Michael Myer joined PNNL in 2007 as a lighting researcher. He currently supports a variety of programs at DOE including the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), Commercial Buildings Integration, U.S. GSA Green Proving Ground, Building Energy Codes, and Appliance and Commercial Equipment Standards (ACES). Within ACES, Michael has contributed his technical skills to test procedures for compact fluorescent lamps, metal halide ballasts, and other lighting technologies, as well as the non-lighting commercial pre-rinse spray valves and pool pumps. As an ACES project manager, he has been the PNNL lighting lead for energy conservation standards related to HID lamps, metal halide lamp fixtures, and fluorescent lamp ballasts. Michael also supports the commercial and federal adoption of high-efficiency lighting equipment and controls. He brings hands-on skills to the project, previously working in lighting design for Naomi Miller Lighting Design and Hayden McKay Lighting Design. He has authored or co-authored many technical publications/reports and made several presentations at national conferences.

Sachin Nimbalkar, Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)
Dr. Sachin Nimbalkar leads ORNL's Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Research & Analysis Group. He has more than 13 years of professional experience which includes working as an R&D staff member at ORNL. He and his group conduct research; analyze and disseminate knowledge on energy, water, and material efficiency in the manufacturing sector; and develop, deploy, and promote impactful practices, tools, and technologies in the field of energy, water, and material efficiency. Sachin provides technical support to DOE's Better Buildings, Better Plants Program partners through energy roadmap development, baselining analyses, in-plant trainings, and field visits to investigate feasible measures to reduce process energy requirements. He conducts life-cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis in the areas of sustainable manufacturing, circular economy, smart manufacturing, and water-energy nexus. He also assists DOE's international activities through technical program management support and planning and development of tools and materials. Sachin has held several training workshops and webinars covering energy efficiency in process heat systems and waste heat recovery from industrial process heating equipment and DOE’s Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool. He is an active member of Sigma Xi, the Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has achieved “Qualified Specialist” recognition in three DOE energy efficiency software tools: the Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool, the Pump System Assessment Tool, and the Steam System Assessment Tool.

Prakash Rao, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL)
Dr. Prakash Rao is a Research Scientist within the Buildings and Industrial Applications Department at LBNL. He conducts research and analysis into the potential for reducing the energy consumption and water use impacts of the U.S. manufacturing sector while maintaining its productivity. He also conducts analysis of large-scale desalination, focusing on its energy implications and reduction opportunities. Prakash received his doctorate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Rutgers University and his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Thomas Wenning, Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)
Thomas Wenning is a program manager for industrial energy efficiency at ORNL and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He manages ORNL’s domestic and international industrial energy efficiency technology assistance and deployment activities. He supports the DOE’s Better Buildings, Better Plants program and the Federal Energy Management Program by providing industrial sites with technical assistance activities, energy assessments and training, and energy management guidance. In addition, Tom is leading DOE’s effort to modernize their energy-system software tool suite and associated training resources. He has led numerous international industrial energy efficiency workshops, trainings, and assessments on behalf of DOE. He is a registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Practitioner in Energy Management Systems, an SEP-Performance Verifier, and a DOE Qualified Specialist in the areas of steam, pumps, and fans. Tom was recognized by the Alliance to Save Energy in 2018 with their "Rising Star of Energy Efficiency" Award and by the Association of Energy Engineers with their 2019 "International Young Energy Professional of the Year" Award.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 19: 12:45 - 1:45 PM ET


One of the Summit's annual highlights is the opportunity to tour buildings upgraded by Better Buildings and Better Plants partners. This year, we're offering tours virtually. Join this special event to learn about partners' unique energy-saving features. Tour a historic railway station, an underground data center, and an industrial plant, then join a Q&A with the partners as they share details about their efforts.

Featured Partners:

Ford Energy Plant Iron Mountain Data Center in Virginia Historic Western Maryland Railway Station
Ford Motor Company Iron Mountain Data Centers State of Maryland


THURSDAY, MAY 20: 12:45 - 1:45 PM ET

Green Lease Leaders logoA Conversation with Green Lease Leaders

Join Better Buildings and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) as we recognize the 2021 Green Lease Leaders. Panelists will dive into how green leasing offers a competitive advantage helping commercial offices, retail, industrial, and multifamily be more flexible, save money, demonstrate leadership, and reduce climate and health risks that will be instrumental for real estate to thrive in the post-pandemic market.

Speakers: Audi Banny, Institute for Market Transformation (IMT); Sam Stockdale, LINK Logistics; Carla Walker, City of Cincinnati, OH


Why You Should Attend the Summit Plenaries and Featured Sessions Session Details Summit Home and Registration