Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

A Tale of Two Cities: Atlanta and Boston SWAP Energy Efficiency Expertise

April 20, 2017

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Better Buildings Challenge SWAP 3 |Ep. 1| In the City of Boston

If you’re looking for a new series to binge watch, then check out Season 3 of the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP. The U.S. Department of Energy has found a new way to make energy efficiency fun – through short, reality TV-like webisodes.

This SWAP features Boston and Atlanta – two different cities that come together to SWAP ideas, jabs and expertise to demonstrate how metropolitan areas are creating more sustainable communities. Mayors Kasim Reed (Atlanta) and Marty Walsh (Boston) join the SWAP as they empower their city energy teams to tackle everything from historic spaces to modern infrastructure.

Communities, both large and small, can learn a thing or two from the SWAP series. All cities face unique challenges, including owning and operating an array of different buildings: from public works facilities, libraries and water treatment plants, to airports and outdoor stadiums. Local leaders can pick up what the energy experts in Boston and Atlanta are doing to help create more energy-efficient buildings and actively engaged communities.

Boston Strong

The team from Atlanta learned a lot from Boston’s Hyde Park Neighborhood streetlight project, which upgraded its fixtures to LED lighting. They also toured Boston's public works facility, which had a rooftop solar panel installed to help offset utility power. This has saved the city thousands in additional energy costs and allowed city officials to dedicate the savings to other public endeavors necessary to the citizens of Boston. Finally, Atlanta shared some helpful tips to upgrade the HVAC efficiency at Boston's historic library in Copely Square – one of the city's oldest buildings. With help from Massachusetts, Boston has reaped the benefits of a community that’s supportive of energy-efficiency projects.

Efficiency Soars in Atlanta

In Georgia, the energy team shared their improvements at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – the most traveled flying hub in the country. It boasts one of the only LED-illuminated runways, equipped with lighting sensors that adjust to natural light. Boston energy officials noticed Atlanta could improve its HVAC airflow in the airport, which was a simple fix for Atlanta officials. Finally, Boston officials also noted some minor employee behavioral changes to reduce wasted energy even further at the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant that uses variable frequency drive technology in its treatment systems.

To learn more helpful ideas that can easily be replicated by cities nationwide watch all three episodes below.

What's next for the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP? Stay tuned – SWAP 4 is coming soon!