Better Buildings Challenge Partner Spotlight: Roanoke, Virginia is a Goal Achiever!

From 2012 to 2018, Roanoke, Virginia, successfully reduced its energy use intensity by 23% over a 2009 baseline, saving taxpayers $400,000 annually on utility bills. This savings earned Roanoke the designation as a 2019 Better Buildings Challenge Goal Achiever from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)—four years ahead of schedule.

Roanoke has been receiving positive press for these achievements, especially commending the energy reductions achieved in the Berglund Center, Roanoke’s 391,300-square-foot cultural hub built in 1971 out of concrete panels. After completing a comprehensive energy assessment, upgrades were made to the building that included converting interior and exterior lights to LEDs, replacing exterior doors, repairing HVAC equipment, and installing a high-efficiency chiller and a state-of-the-art ice rink refrigeration system. Learn more on its Better Building Partner Page.

FEMA Resilience Webinars Now Available

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance Division, in partnership with WIP, hosted two webinars to inform state, local, tribal, and utility stakeholders on how to build resiliency in the energy sector through innovative energy mitigation projects that incorporate energy efficiency, renewable energy and storage, and microgrids.

  • Projects- Mitigating Energy Lifelines Projects to Build Resilient Communities - The first webinar in the series highlighted real-world federal and state funded energy projects as well as how to leverage federal grant funding available through FEMA’s FY19 Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Program Grant and DOE’s State Energy Program
  • Metrics– How to Utilize the Benefit Cost Analysis when Valuing Energy Lifeline Projects to Build Resilient Communities - The second webinar shared information on FEMA’s Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) program guidelines, methodologies, and tools for valuing energy lifeline projects. Participants learned how to utilize the BCA Toolkit as it applies to energy sector projects to build resilient communities. 

Download the presentations.

Berkeley Lab Report Describes the Latest Distributed PV Pricing and Design Trends

The annual Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) report, Tracking the Sun, describes installed prices and other trends among distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The analysis is based on project-level data from approximately 1.6 million systems, representing 81% of all distributed PV systems installed in the United States through the end of 2018.

Key findings from this year’s report include:

  • Distributed PV systems keep getting bigger and more efficient
  • Installed prices continued to fall through 2018 and into 2019
  • Installed prices vary widely across projects.

For more information, download the report.

New Distributed Energy Resources for Resilience Web Page

Distributed energy resources, including renewable energy technologies, storage, and combined heat and power, can provide a variety of benefits for state, local, and federal government sites. An emerging application is resilience—providing power when a site loses grid electricity. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) Federal Energy Management Program developed a Distributed Energy Technologies for Resilience web page that includes resources to learn more about using distributed energy resources for resilience and evaluating optimal technology combinations to meet cost and resilience goals at your site. Visit the web page.

National Solar Program Hits Milestone: Over 300 "SolSmart" Communities Designated

alaska largest rooftop solar array

Alaska’s largest rooftop solar array (77 kW) at the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Photo courtesy of the City of Anchorage.

In October 2019, SolSmart, the national recognition program that makes it easier for communities to go solar and for solar companies to enter the marketplace, designated its 300th community: Anchorage, Alaska. Funded by EERE’s Solar Energy Technology Office, SolSmart began as a project in 2016 to reduce solar soft costs and regulatory burdens like permitting and inspection. Currently, more than 325 cities, counties, and regional organizations in 40 states and the District of Columbia have a SolSmart designation. For more information, read the EERE Success Story on the milestone achievement.

Public-Sector Success Stories

WIP is proud to highlight the great energy efficiency successes from the public sector. Four new EERE success stories were released recently that showcase significant energy and cost savings for public-sector stakeholders.

New White Paper on Flexible Hydropower

In collaboration with EERE’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Programme on Hydropower released a white paper on the value of flexibility in enabling renewable integration and hydropower’s capabilities to provide this flexibility across a range of timescales. This is relevant to public-sector stakeholders interested in incorporating flexible hydropower into comprehensive energy planning. Flexible Hydropower Providing Value to Renewable Energy Integration provides an international perspective on hydropower flexibility, including case studies from the United States, Europe, and Australia. Download the report.

Database for Technical Aspects of Marine Renewable Energy

PNNL launched a database of technical assistance to support efforts by EERE’s WPTO to advance the marine renewable energy industry. The database shares resources related to deploying wave, tidal, and/or other marine renewable energy devices in corrosive, high-energy marine environments. These resources can aid public-sector stakeholders in successfully navigating the highly technical nuances of integrating innovative marine renewable energy technology in their jurisdictions. Visit the database.


Webinar for DOE Smart Building Field Validation Opportunity—Seeking Pilot Site

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019
2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

DOE and Berkeley Lab are assessing the performance of a connected building operating system for a small to medium commercial building to reduce operating expenses and save energy. DOE seeks a commercial office host site (50,000–100,000 sq. ft.) with manually controlled thermostats to pilot BEM Controls’ Wise Building (WiseBldg) platform and receive free, independent measurement and verification (M&V) conducted by Berkeley Lab.

WiseBldg platform is a low-cost, cloud-based, open-architecture software platform that can monitor and control HVAC, lighting and plug loads, as well as solar PV systems, energy storage units and other IoT sensorsThe platform can provide new or legacy buildings with a building automation system with load control, analytics, and peak demand reduction capabilities. Berkeley Lab will hold a 60-minute informational webinar on potential building hosts around the technology and M&V opportunity. Register for the webinar. Learn more about the WiseBldg Platform.

Infrastructure Investments in the News

Petros PACE Finance provides $3.5M in C-PACE financing for Hyatt House in Columbus, Ohio: Petros PACE Finance, LLC has closed a $3.5 million Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) transaction to finance the energy efficiency components of the construction of a five-story Hyatt House in Columbus, Ohio.

University campus in Denver, Colorado, installs 779-kW solar array: A 779-kilowatt (kW) solar array is being installed atop the Auraria Library that will produce approximately 1 million kilowatt-hours annually and supply 2.5% of the annual campus-wide power consumption on a 150-acre university campus in Denver serving Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver.

La Villa Independent School District in Texas to undergo energy efficiency project, expected to save $2.8 million over 15 years: La Villa Independent School District in Texas announced the kickoff of a comprehensive energy efficiency project that will improve performance of the district’s facilities, as well as air conditioning comfort and lighting in the learning environment and further reduce energy costs.