Published on June 23rd, 2015 | by Sandy Dechert2
Better Buildings Saves Over $1 Billion In Energy, Opens Online Solution Center
June 23rd, 2015 by Sandy Dechert
The Better Buildings Alliance, an energy efficiency coalition of organizations whose holdings comprise almost 15% of US commercial floor space, is well on track to save participating companies 20% in energy costs by 2020. Its associated Better Buildings Challenge has already saved over 250 participating organizations (see end of article) an amount nearing $1.5 billion in only three years.
Through these White House programs, companies can access the Department of Energy’s wide network of research and technical experts to develop and deploy innovative, cost-effective, energy-saving solutions that lead to better technologies, more profitable businesses, and better buildings overall.
To review, the three largest sectors of energy consumption in the US are buildings, industry, and transportation. Of these sectors, commercial buildings—offices, stores, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and hotels—consume nearly 20% of all our energy.
Unfortunately, much of this energy and its cost are wasted. DOE says that a typical commercial building could save 20% on energy bills just by using existing systems according to their original design specifications.
Energy efficiency is thus a very cost-effective way to save money, and it also supports job growth, reduces pollution, and improves competitiveness.
Following the success of Better Buildings and an increase in the market-driven forces seeking financial/environmental benefits, last month DOE created an online Better Buildings Solution Center to help all organizations find energy-efficiency solutions quickly—by topic, building type, location, and more—and affordably, with an information bank of financing options for efficiency upgrades. Many applaud the very accessible move as a welcome alternative to government mandates. Access to financing is also a major improvement.
Not just the coastal areas you might expect, but states and cities in the Midwest too are expanding energy benchmarking laws, policies, and auditing rules that aid in transitioning to more efficient uses of technology. Kansas City joined Chicago and Minneapolis earlier this month. Work in the South is ongoing as well.
Too, energy efficiency work can proceed gradually within the Better Buildings framework. For example, adding sensors to lighting may not mean installing a full building energy management system, but it’s a good step along the way. Also, creatively bundled projects are becoming more common as contractors and financers realize the substantial and almost immediate benefits of deeper efficiency projects.