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Now Available! 2018 Better Buildings Progress Report

Cover of the Better Buildings Progress Report.
More than 120 unique state and local governments are participating in an array of Better Buildings programs, including 53 in the Challenge, 44 in the Better Communities Alliance, and 55 in one or more of the public- sector focused Accelerators. Better Buildings Challenge partners achieved 380 trillion Btus of energy savings, $3.1 billion in savings, 23 million tons of avoided carbon emissions, and 6.3 billion gallons of water savings since the start of the program.
Better Buildings partners have worked hard to achieve ambitious energy goals. Oregon, Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina exceeded their energy goals of reducing energy use by 20% through energy improvements and realized energy savings. Illinois’ River Trails School District recently set a new energy savings goal after achieving 25% energy savings. Better Buildings partners work continuously to set and achieve goals to reduce energy and water use in the public and private sector. Read and download the Progress Report.

New Resource Table: State Energy Program Competitive Award Resources

As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) State Energy Program (SEP) competitive awards, states have contributed to or created resources, such as guides, models, and tools. These resources are now consolidated in one location and available for states and other stakeholders to inform their energy efficiency or renewable energy goals. Filter the table to highlight specific resources based on interest or state. Examples of resources include Washington’s Overview of Utility Engagement Issues and Combined Heat and Power: Kentucky Implementation Model.

City of Chula Vista: FREE Resources and Energy Business Evaluation (FREBE) Program

The FREE Resources and Energy Business Evaluation (FREBE) Program in Chula Vista, California enables local businesses to identify and pursue opportunities for cost-cutting energy and water efficiency improvements. It also requires commercial and industrial businesses to receive free energy and water evaluations of their premises when initial business licenses are issued and every 3-5 years thereafter as part of the business license renewal process. Since 2017, more than 5,700 no-cost business evaluations were conducted with more than 50% of participating businesses implementing at least one energy-saving action. Read more.

Worchester's Municipal ESPC Expects Savings Near $100 Million

Photo of outdoor street lighting.

In 2009, the City of Worcester, Massachusetts, hired an Energy Services Company (ESCO) to perform an energy audit of municipal facilities, resulting in a 20-year, multi-million-dollar Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC). The $80 million total capital investment is expected to save the city over $94 million during that timeframe. Completed upgrades at 92 facilities address heating and cooling systems, energy management control systems, insulation, air-sealing, lighting fixtures, two solar projects, and a streetlight retrofit, which converted more than 14,000 streetlights to LEDs. Read more.

Better Buildings Solutions

  • Boston Energy Data Optimization: Boston implemented a programmatic overhaul to how energy data was collected, analyzed, and reported to improve the city’s energy management process. The program results have been immensely successful thus far, providing customized real-time energy meter dashboards to public building engineers, enhancing transparency and accountability through Boston’s open data portal, and recovering over $1.2 million in identified utility billing errors in the first year.
  • The City of Orlando's Amway Center LEED Gold Certification: The Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic and Orlando Solar Bears, opened Oct. 1, 2010 as the first NBA facility in the United States to earn a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The facility seats 20,000 and was designed to use 20% less energy and 40% less water than venues of comparable size. The projected energy cost savings from HVAC re-commissioning and lighting and air unit upgrades are $960,000 per year.

New Resource: Bond Financing for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Webinar Recording

Hosted by the State and Local Solution Center, this webinar recording is directed toward state and local leaders who wish to better understand how bond financing can advance their energy efficiency, renewable energy, and related infrastructure investment objectives. The webinar introduces types of bonding tools, provides a market update of how bonds were used to finance energy-related projects, and discusses special considerations for bond authorities with regards to energy-related financing. View the webinar.

Updated EPA Tools: Easier Analysis of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Opportunities and Benefits

To help state, local, and tribal decision makers quantify and communicate the air and health benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) State and Local Energy and Environment Program linked their two main quantification tools: the AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) and the CO-Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) Health Impacts Screening and Mapping Tool.

AVERT quantifies emissions impacts of energy efficiency and renewable energy and evaluates state- and county-level emissions displaced at electric power plants by energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs. The COBRA Health Impacts Screening and Mapping Tool quantifies and monetizes the air quality and health impacts of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies at the county, state, regional, or national levels.

This new linked functionality makes it easier to do screening-level analyses of the public health benefits of emission reductions from energy efficiency or renewable energy projects, programs, and policies.


2018 Better Buildings Summit & Energy Exchange—Early-Bird Registration Ends June 15

Save the date for Better Buildings Summit.

Don’t miss out on early-bird registration! Last day for the discounted rate is June 15, 2018.

DOE is hosting the 2018 Better Buildings Summit in Cleveland, Ohio, Aug. 21–23, 2018. The Summit is one of the premier events for energy professionals to engage with one another and explore and share innovative strategies, emerging technologies, financing trends, and much more. This year, the Summit will be held with DOE’s annual Energy Exchange, which is focused on federal facility energy management, to provide greater access to technical discussions and training while also providing the great panel sessions, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities. View the detailed agenda for more information. 

Travel Assistance Available
A limited number of travel stipends (up to $750) are available upon request for representatives from K-12 school districts and energy or sustainability offices within a state or local government that do not have administrative funds available for such purposes through an existing federal funding agreement with DOE or another federal agency. Registrants should indicate interest in travel assistance through the registration websiteRegister now.

Monthly ESPC Webinar Series

Register for DOE’s Better Buildings Program five-part series in the ESPC Toolkit. The third webinar, Establishing an ESPC Program, is geared toward state and local governments establishing support and services for ESPC as the go-to project financing mechanism in their jurisdictions.

The webinar series is focusing on best practices developed in collaboration with 25 state and local organizations to discuss common barriers to implementing ESPC, streamline the ESPC process, provide the ESPC market with project data, build a national ESPC framework, and use innovative approaches for applying ESPC in new market sectors.

View previous webinars:

Community Toolbox Webinar and Dialogue Series

June 13, 2018, 1–2 p.m. EDT

The Better Communities Alliance (BCA) Community Toolbox Webinar and Dialogue Series delivers tools, resources, and other information to support local governments in the areas of integrated energy planning, building efficiency, transportation, solar energy, data management and analysis, and financing mechanisms. The series schedule is available on the BCA website.

The next webinar in the series, City Energy Profiles and State and Local Energy Data Website, will provide an overview of the Cities Leading through Energy Analysis and Planning (Cities-LEAP) project, which delivers standardized, localized energy data and analysis that enables cities to lead in energy efficiency and renewable energy innovation and integrate strategic energy analysis into decision making. The webinar will cover City Energy Profiles on the State and Local Energy Data website, which provides energy-related information for 23,400+ communities across the United States, as well as City Energy: From Data to Decisions, a DOE project with local governments to leverage their data and City Energy Profiles to address analysis needs in support of their energy goals. The webinar will feature local government experiences in utilizing energy data and analysis. Register now.

DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2018 Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting

June 13–15, 2018, Washington, D.C.

DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2018 Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting (AMR) will be held on June 13–15, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The Office of Fossil Energy's Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program will be holding a concurrent review. A combined agenda is available for both reviews.

Registration for the AMR is now open. Everyone who attends any portion of the AMR, including invited reviewers, must register in advance of the meeting.

Upcoming NASEO Regional Meetings

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) is holding their annual series of regional meetings designed for state and territory energy officials and key staff with participation from federal agencies and NASEO affiliated members. Upcoming meetings include:

Past meetings include:

Webinar: Powering Energy Efficiency and Impacts Project Framework

June 21, 2018, 2–3 p.m. EDT

Led by the Upper Coastal Plains Council of Governments, this webinar will explore the Powering Energy Efficiency and Impacts Project Framework (PEEIF) initiative, which resulted from a financial assistance award from DOE’s Cities-LEAP. The framework will enhance the efficiency of energy service delivery to low-income households in northeastern North Carolina. This project involves a data sharing agreement between electric utilities, state offices involved in low income energy-related programs (e.g., Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program, weatherization, and crisis intervention), and an ArcGIS online tool for visualizing the information.

In this webinar, the project team will talk about their lessons learned, how they were able to implement a successful data sharing agreement, and what can be accomplished through the PEEIF tool. They will also be available to answers questions from webinar participants. Register now.

Infrastructure Investments in the News

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