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DOE Seeks Feedback on the Use of Challenges and Prize Competitions to Address Critical Water Issues

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking feedback on key barriers that may prevent long-term access to low-cost water supplies that could be best addressed through challenges and prize competitions. Challenges and prize competitions rely on competitive structures to drive innovation among a broad set of participants and usually offer financial and/or other rewards to winners and finalists. This request for information (RFI) was first released in conjunction with a roundtable discussion led by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on the use of federal prizes and challenges to drive innovation, particularly when it comes to critical water issues. DOE may use the information provided through this RFI to develop challenges and prize competitions to address these key water issues.

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 14, 2018.

States, Local Governments, and K-12 Schools: Better Buildings Champions

Public sector partners are making it clear that Better Buildings Initiatives are a core mechanism to help them achieve their energy goals. As of March 2018, DOE’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) has supported over 200 partnerships with more than 35 states, 80 local governments, and 25 K-12 schools through the Better Buildings Initiative. This technical assistance summary shows the savings and actions of the partners and provides resources to replicate these results throughout the United States.

Read the summary.

Better Buildings Partners Realizing 20% Energy Reductions

Three Better Building Partners have reached at least 20% energy reductions through a number of upgrades including building retrofits and staff education.

  • Schneider Electric saved 20% in annual energy use and $200,000 in annual energy savings by migrating IT equipment to a hosted data center and centralizing IT equipment to a target data center.
  • The Department of Inspectional Services used an ESPC to improve outdated heating and cooling rooftop units, which resulted in 21% energy savings and annual energy cost savings of $17,000.
  • Nissan North America recommitted to a 15% energy consumption reduction in its three U.S. manufacturing facilities by 2022. They have previously achieved a 25% reduction in five years by participating in DOE’s Enterprise-Wide Accelerator approach to ISO 50001 adoption to educate and engage staff.

LEAD Tool: Quick Start Guide Now Available

As part of the Better Building’s Clean Energy for Low Income Communities Accelerator, DOE developed the Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) tool to assist state and local governments and other program implementers in identifying energy needs and housing characteristics of a variety of low-income communities and inform their low-income program planning. If you’re unsure how to use the tool, this new quick start guide walks through how to access the tool and interpret the data, including how to find your state data and use the new city template, and compare data on a national, state, city, and county level.

In addition, following the LEAD tool webinar and the question and answer call, DOE posted an FAQ document on the OpenEI website, where all the state, city, and county datasets are available. Questions about the LEAD tool can be sent to

Download the Guide.

New One-Stop Shop for Low-Income Energy Resources

DOE recently created the Low-Income Energy Federal Library, which provides a compilation of resources and tools across eight federal agencies that serve low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities. Assembled by the Interagency Collaborative on Energy Solutions for Low-Income Communities, the array of resources and tools are available to those seeking energy solutions for LMI communities.

Access the library.

C-PACE Financing for Resiliency Toolkit

This commercial property assessed clean energy (C-PACE) toolkit provides an overview for building owners, operators, and occupants who may want to take advantage of C-PACE financing to improve resiliency in their facilities. It also includes three case studies demonstrating how C-PACE financing was used to support investments in microgrids, seismic retrofits, and hurricane-proofing. View the toolkit.

Data Management System for ESPC: eProject Builder

Developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with funding from DOE, eProject Builder (ePB) is a secure, web-based energy project data management system for Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) that has achieved a milestone of over 500 projects in the database and more than 1,000 individual users trained on the tool. Projects in ePB represent investments of $4.7 billion and guaranteed dollar savings of $10.4 billion. ePB enables energy service companies and their customers—federal, state/local, educational and private commercial facilities—to readily preserve, track, benchmark, and report information for their portfolio of energy projects. For more information on ESPC, read our ESPC Technical Assistance Overview.

View the eProject Builder.

Sneak Peek of Upcoming Energy Data Management Guide

A growing number of states, local governments, and school districts are using strategic energy management to reduce wasted energy and realize cost savings. On average, research shows these organizations are achieving sustained energy savings of 2% a year. The step-by-step framework and best practices in the Energy Data Management Guide provide insight on how to establish a robust and sustainable energy data management program – the foundation for strategic energy management. This resource summary highlights the seven steps that will help organizations cut energy waste, save taxpayer dollars, demonstrate leadership, improve the efficiency of operations, and create a culture of accountability and high performance.

Read the resource summary.


Monthly ESPC Webinar Series

Register for DOE’s Better Buildings Program five-part series in the ESPC Toolkit. The second webinar, Implementing ESPC Projects, features practical trips for carrying out an ESPC project.

The webinar series is focusing on best practices developed in collaboration with 25 state and local organizations to overcome common barriers to implementing ESPC, streamlining the ESPC process, empowering the ESPC market with project data, building a national ESPC framework, and using innovative approaches for applying ESPC in new market sectors.

View previous webinars:

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:

Registration Now Open: 2018 Better Buildings Summit & Energy Exchange

DOE will host the 2018 Better Buildings Summit in Cleveland, Ohio, August 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. For 2018, the Summit will be held with DOE’s annual Energy Exchange, 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.

Highlights and featured topics include:

  • Emerging and advanced technologies
  • Contingency planning and effective implementation for energy resilience
  • Smart building design and operation
  • Barriers and opportunities for energy and water efficiency and employing renewable energy
  • Energy Exchange Trade Show
  • Peer-to-peer networking
  • Courses offering Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits
  • Discussions with DOE national lab experts and Better Buildings Financial Allies
  • Local tours of high efficiency buildings and manufacturing plants.

Register now.

Infrastructure Investments in the News