Better Buildings Challenge Partners Exceed $1.3 Billion in Energy Cost Savings, Share Hundreds of Solutions to Help Spur Future Efficiency Efforts

WASHINGTON — U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro today released Better Buildings Challenge partner results, announced three new focus areas in local communities, and highlighted overall signs of growth in the initiative’s reach and influence.

Better Buildings Challenge Partners Exceed $1.3 Billion in Energy Cost Savings, Share Hundreds of Solutions to Help Spur Future Efficiency Efforts

Since 2011, both the number of Better Buildings Challenge partners and energy efficiency commitments have tripled, resulting in energy cost savings that now exceed the $1.3 billion mark and the avoidance of 10 million tons of harmful carbon emissions.  There are now 310 Better Buildings Challenge partners who are set to achieve goals of at least 20 percent energy reduction within 10 years. Together they represent 34,000 buildings and facilities, 4.2 billion square feet, and $5.5 billion dollars in energy efficiency investment. Latest reporting shows partners are on track, decreasing energy use on average by over two percent each year.

“Thanks to a dedicated drive to actively create and share the best energy efficiency solutions, Better Buildings partners have dramatically cut their energy waste and saved more than a billion dollars since the Better Buildings initiative was launched five years ago,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As the initiative continues to grow, we are moving the nation forward by reducing energy costs and carbon emissions through energy efficiency.”

“Housing can play a vital role in addressing the realities of climate change,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.  “The Better Buildings Challenge makes sense for our environment and for the pocketbooks of hardworking American families.  I’d like to thank all of our partners for helping to lead our nation’s 21st century clean energy revolution.”     

Over 60 new partners have joined the Better Buildings Challenge this year, including UC Berkeley, Iron Mountain Data Centers, Nike, The Wendy’s Company, CenturyLink Global Data Center Operations and New York City Housing Authority. A full list of all new partners can be found in the 2016 Better Buildings Progress Update.

Thirty-five partners have achieved their Challenge energy or water savings goals, all ahead of schedule. A list of all goal achievers is in the 2016 Progress Report. This year’s 18 goal achievers include:

  • City of Atlanta, GA
  • Arby’s
  • Cummins, Inc.
  • eBay, Inc.
  • Hartford Financial Services
  • Havertys
  • City of Hillsboro, OR
  • Intuit
  • Nissan North America
  • Poudre School District
  • River Trails School District
  • State of Delaware
  • Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority
  • United Technologies Corporation

Four financial allies have also met their goals ahead of schedule and include:

  • Community Investment Corporation
  • Connecticut Green Bank
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Ygrene Energy

These partners accomplished their energy, water and financing goals through a combination of innovative solutions and proven strategies, which are openly exchanged through the Better Buildings Solution Center website. The online tool now hosts more than 400 solutions including 100 implementation models, 150 showcase projects, and hundreds of supporting case studies, fact sheets, presentations, and webinars. The solutions partners are essential for demonstrating how advanced technologies, organizational strategies and partnerships with financiers and utilities are moving energy efficiency work forward across diverse market sectors.

In this spirit of openly sharing and exchanging solutions, the initiative also announced it is currently exploring a season two of DOE’s first reality-style web series, the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP. The first season debuted this spring and resulted in hundreds of thousands of views by energy professionals. The feature content highlighted two partners, Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market, who swapped energy teams and buildings, and in doing so, pushed their energy efficiency actions even further.

To complement Better Buildings Challenge partners who are working on broad, portfolio-wide strategies, organizations engaging in Better Buildings Accelerators are part of unique collaborative networks designed to advance specific innovative policies and approaches as a way to accelerate investment in energy efficiency. DOE is reporting that the Energy Data Accelerator is the first of 10 programs to successfully complete its mission, and is launching three new accelerator programs focused on creating sustainable paths for local communities to improve resiliency with combined heat and power, lower energy costs in low income communities, and upgrade wastewater infrastructure, all to create a more secure energy for residents and businesses:

  • Local and national partners in the Better Buildings Clean Energy in Low Income Communities Accelerator will work to deploy clean energy in low income communities through expanded installation of energy efficiency and distributed renewables and lower utility bills for residents.
  • Cities and utilities in the Better Buildings Combined Heat and Power for Resiliency Accelerator will work to support and expand the consideration of combined heat and power technologies for improved efficiency and enhanced resiliency
  • State, regional, and local agencies partnering in the Better Buildings Wastewater Infrastructure Accelerator will improve the energy efficiency of their participating water resource recovery facilities by at least 30 percent and integrate at least one resource recovery measure.

Though Better Buildings, DOE aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade. This means saving hundreds of billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating thousands of jobs. Better Buildings partners represent public and private sector organizations across the country, and are working together and DOE to share and replicate positive gains in energy efficiency. The department is currently pursuing strategies within four interrelated key areas. Read about how partners are increasingly working to catalyze change and investment in energy efficiency, and their proven solutions, in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

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ASHRAE and AFE Sign Agreement of Understanding

May 17, 2016

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Contact: Jodi Scott
Public Relations
[email protected]

Editors Note: A photo of the signing is available.

ATLANTA – ASHRAE and the Association of Facilities Engineering recently signed a memorandum of understanding, which outlines how the two groups can work together toward promotion of common endeavors.

Under the agreement, ASHRAE and AFE will look for ways to work together in regard to advocacy, chapter collaboration, conferences and meetings, education and technical activities.

“AFE is focused on the optimal operation of plants, grounds and offices at a variety of built environment locations, such as medical centers and Fortune 500 companies, so working with them is a natural fit for ASHRAE,” ASHRAE President David Underwood said.

“With buildings and facilities systems world-wide becoming more complex, ASHRAE’s many publications, but especially their code-intended-documents, are a necessity for our membership as well as the success of facility operations worldwide,” AFE President Roy Nation said. 

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 55,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at

Founded in 1915, The Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE), McLean, Virginia, is a professional organization that promotes the optimal operation of plants, grounds and offices at Fortune 500 manufacturers, universities, medical centers, government agencies and high-rise office buildings from around the world. AFE provides education, certification, technical information and other relevant resources to plant and facility engineering, operation and maintenance professionals worldwide

Hidden Risks of Green Buildings

‘LEED-certified’ no guarantee of success, particularly concerning the accumulation of moisture and the growth of mold.

A new article in the magazine describes several additional concerns that come from designing a building to the 'green' standards, such as LEED.

Read the full article at:
Hidden Risks of Green Buildings

(Free website registration is required)

Importance of Resiliency in Buildings Codes/Standards Stressed at White House Event

May 10, 2016

ATLANTA – Helping buildings and their systems withstand and recover from natural disasters requires a lot of technical knowledge. Fortunately, ASHRAE has dozens of resources available to help designers make buildings more resilient. The Society took part in today’s White House Conference on Resilient Building Codes.

“The built environment industry strives to design, construct and operate buildings to withstand both natural disasters and man-made hazards,” ASHRAE President David Underwood said. “We must use the knowledge gleaned from disasters like the recent earthquake in Kumamoto, Japan, Superstorm Sandy, flooding in India and others, as well as predictions of the effects of climate change, to our advantage to save lives and infrastructure in the future. ASHRAE is pleased to be part of this effort with allied organizations and make these commitments to protect the public and building stock.”

The White House hosted the event to highlight the critical role of building codes in furthering community resilience and the importance of incorporating resilience and the future impacts of climate change in the codes and standards development process.  As part of the conference, the Administration highlighted federal and private sector efforts aimed at advancing the principles of resilience in building codes and standards and building design. 

ASHRAE Director-at-Large Mick Schwedler took part in the conference, serving on a panel focused on codes and standards. Participants discussed the work being done by the codes and standards community as well as how that community can better support state and local officials who are faced with the challenges of cost and risk perceptions. Others on the panel represented the National Institute of Building Sciences, the International Code council, the National Fire Protection Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

As part of the effort, ASHRAE has committed to:

  • utilizing member research funding to support research related to resilience in buildings and building systems
  • developing, maintaining or revising standards to reduce building loads and their subsequent impact on utilities
  • working with numerous global partners to encourage adoption of these changes as soon as possible into codes
  • providing instructional and application tools to implement these substantial improvements
  • educating the affected stakeholders

ASHRAE has compiled a webpage of resources on resiliency, which can be found at

In addition, ASHRAE, along with other leaders of America’s design and construction industry, released a report on progress made on the resilience front since the Resilience Building Coalition announced the Building Industry Statement on Resilience two years ago.

The Resilience Building Coalition also released a set of guiding principles to help the building industry adopt resilient design and policies. These include developing and advocating for codes and policies that advance resilience; developing “whole-systems resilient design” approaches for the built environment; and providing guidance, beyond the baseline life-safety codes, that recognizes the importance of fortifying property for individual and community resilience. The report can be viewed at

Contact: Jodi Scott
Public Relations
[email protected]

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 55,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at

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