Improving the efficiency of America’s building stock would save billions of dollars in energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create thousands of jobs. To capture – and replicate – those positive gains in energy efficiency, the Department of Energy launched the Better Buildings Initiative, a partnership of public and private sector organizations across the country.
The initiative focuses its strategies within four interrelated key areas to drive change and investment in energy efficiency:
- Developing innovative, replicable solutions with market leaders
- Making energy efficiency investment easier
- Developing a skilled clean energy workforce
- Leading by example in federal government
Many ways to build better
Building owners in the commercial, educational, industrial, residential and state and local government sectors can get involved in the initiative through a variety of pathways:
- The cornerstone Better Building Challenge calls on the leadership of companies, universities, school districts, housing developers and state and local government to commit to reducing the energy used across their building portfolios by 20 percent or more over 10 years.
- The Better Building Accelerators demonstrate specific innovative policies and approaches, which upon successful demonstration, will accelerate investment in energy efficiency.
- The Better Buildings Summit, May 9-11 in Washington, D.C., brings partners together to showcase solutions and exchange best practices.
- The Better Buildings Alliance connects members in different market sectors with DOE’s research and technical experts to develop and deploy innovative, cost-effective, energy-saving solutions that lead to better technologies, more profitable businesses and healthier, more comfortable facilities.
- The Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines provide a national platform for developing high-quality, nationally recognized training and certification programs that are consistent and scalable across the energy-efficiency industry.
- The annual Better Buildings Case Competition engages the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policymakers to develop creative solutions to real-world energy efficiency barriers for businesses and other organizations across the marketplace. After taking a year off for planning, the competition is back in 2016.
Industrial partners can participate in the Better Plants program that has saved about 457 trillion British thermal units and $2.4 billion cumulatively in energy costs to date. Facilities may also pursue Superior Energy Performance Certification, by implementing an energy management system that meets the ISO 50001 Standard and demonstrates improved energy performance.
Resources dedicated to residential partners include the online Solution Center, Home Energy Score and the Zero-energy Ready Home designation to promote high-performance housing. Utility residential program managers will find many tools in these pages to help homeowners control their energy use.
The Better Building Residential Network is available to state and local government partners, as well as residential partners. The membership, which includes utilities, analyzes energy-efficiency programs and shares best practices with the goal of increasing the number of energy-efficient homes. Join their weekly peer exchange calls to discuss such topics as smart homes, the power of messaging, emerging trends in residential efficiency and residential property-assessed clean energy financing.
Buildings use close to half of the energy consumed in the United States, so a more efficient building stock can help utilities meet environmental regulations and load management goals. Learn more about becoming a Better Building Partner or sign up for interactive webinars that explore cost-effective ways to integrate energy savings into their daily building operations. Keep up to date on the latest partner activities and solutions by signing up for Better Buildings communications.