The Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge is one of the biggest public-private partnerships on energy efficiency. Latest results from the Obama Administration initiative launched in 2011 include:
- 160 trillion Btus of energy saved
- $1.3 billion saved
- 10 million tons of avoided carbon emissions
- 2.3 billion gallons of water saved
- 34,000 buildings and facilities nationwide
These savings resulted from a wide variety of solutions, including upgrades and energy-saving technologies in car manufacturing plants, street lights, and restaurant kitchens.
There are now 310 Better Buildings Challenge partners who are set to achieve goals of at least 20 percent energy reduction within 10 years. Together, the 34,000 buildings and facilities represent 4.2 billion square feet, and $5.5 billion dollars in energy efficiency investment. Latest reporting shows partners are on track, decreasing energy use on average by over two percent each year.
“Thanks to a dedicated drive to actively create and share the best energy efficiency solutions, Better Buildings partners have dramatically cut their energy waste and saved more than a billion dollars since the Better Buildings initiative was launched five years ago,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As the initiative continues to grow, we are moving the nation forward by reducing energy costs and carbon emissions through energy efficiency.”
Achieving Energy Goals
Over 60 new partners have joined the Better Buildings Challenge this year, including UC Berkeley, Iron Mountain Data Centers, Nike, The Wendy’s Company, CenturyLink Global Data Center Operations, and New York City Housing Authority. A full list of all new partners can be found in the 2016 Better Buildings Progress Update.
Thirty-five partners have achieved their Challenge energy or water savings goals, all ahead of schedule. A list of all goal achievers is in the 2016 Progress Report. This year’s 18 goal achievers include:
- City of Atlanta, GA
- Cummins, Inc.
- eBay, Inc.
- Hartford Financial Services
- City of Hillsboro, OR
- Nissan North America
- Poudre School District
- River Trails School District
- State of Delaware
- Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority
- United Technologies Corporation
Four financial allies have also met their goals ahead of schedule and include:
- Community Investment Corporation
- Connecticut Green Bank
- Enterprise Community Partners
- Ygrene Energy
These partners accomplished their energy, water, and financing goals through a combination of innovative solutions and proven strategies, which are openly exchanged through the Better Buildings Solution Center website. The online tool now hosts more than 400 solutions including 100 implementation models, 150 showcase projects, and hundreds of supporting case studies, fact sheets, presentations, and webinars. The solutions partners are essential for demonstrating how advanced technologies, organizational strategies, and partnerships with financiers and utilities are moving energy efficiency work forward across diverse market sectors.
The Better Buildings Challenge SWAP
In the spirit of openly sharing and exchanging solutions, the initiative also announced it is currently exploring a season two of DOE’s first reality-style web series, the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP. The first season debuted this spring and resulted in hundreds of thousands of views by energy professionals.The feature content highlighted two partners, Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market, who swapped energy teams and buildings, and in doing so, pushed their energy efficiency actions even further.
To complement Better Buildings Challenge partners who are working on broad, portfolio-wide strategies, organizations engaging in Better Buildings Accelerators are part of unique collaborative networks designed to advance specific innovative policies and approaches as a way to accelerate investment in energy efficiency. DOE is reporting that the Energy Data Accelerator is the first of 10 programs to successfully complete its mission, and is launching three new accelerator programs focused on creating sustainable paths for local communities to improve resiliency with combined heat and power, lower energy costs in low income communities, and upgrade wastewater infrastructure, all to create a more secure energy for residents and businesses:
- Local and national partners in the Better Buildings Clean Energy in Low Income Communities Accelerator will work to deploy clean energy in low income communities through expanded installation of energy efficiency and distributed renewables and lower utility bills for residents.
- Cities and utilities in the Better Buildings Combined Heat and Power for Resiliency Accelerator will work to support and expand the consideration of combined heat and power technologies for improved efficiency and enhanced resiliency
- State, regional, and local agencies partnering in the Better Buildings Wastewater Infrastructure Accelerator will improve the energy efficiency of their participating water resource recovery facilities by at least 30 percent and integrate at least one resource recovery measure.