How These 'Better Buildings' Achieved Savings

Nov. 22, 2016

Department of Energy program has saved $3 billion in energy costs.

Each year, American industries spend roughly $200 billion on energy costs. Looking to cut back, companies and institutions are teaming up to innovate and are finding strong results in improving energy practices. A dozen partners in the DOE’s Better Buildings, Better Plants program have hit their goals for energy or water savings and are cutting out much of their energy expenditure.

Better Buildings, Better Plants was launched five years ago to make commercial, public, industrial and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over 10 years from when partners join the program. Together, its partners have saved more than $3 billion in energy costs.

Partners in the program represent more than 11% of the manufacturing sector’s total energy footprint with over 2,500 facilities across the U.S. and have so far reported cumulative energy savings of 600 trillion BTUs and nearly 35 million metric tons of avoided climate-changing carbon emissions.

“This hugely successful program involves thousands of facilities, avoiding millions of metric tons of carbon emissions and saving billions of dollars in energy costs,” says Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The progress that our Better Plants partners have made throughout the Obama Administration indicates that American companies are committed to reducing the energy footprint of their operations. That commitment is essential for America to continue making important strides toward a low-carbon future.”

How have these partners cut back on energy? Facing the split incentive barrier that came with a portfolio of 150 leased distribution spaces, Lennox International feared that they would not be able to make progress in energy efficiency. With Lennox having little incentive to invest major capital into building upgrades and the building owners having little desire to upgrade because they did not pay energy bills, Lennox chose to work with a lighting technology provider to set lighting specifications for its leased facilities and negotiated with its landlords to split lighting upgrade costs.

In an attempt to conserve water, HARBEC Plastics innovated a rainwater system to fulfill an insurance requirement to implement a fire sprinkler. Instead of installing a water tank, HARBEC created a water retention pond that collects rainwater from roofs and parking lots to supply the sprinkler. Moreover, HARBEC uses the pond to meet cooling needs for the facility’s evaporative cooling towers.

Learn more by visiting the Better Buildings Solution Center at betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov

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