Better Buildings Challenge Expands to Multi-Family Portfolios

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As part of the US Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge, a summit was held on May 7th to discuss new energy efficient technologies and sustainable business practices. The summit featured a variety of business and residential organizations who demonstrated new techniques for how they would decrease energy consumption across their building portfolios.

What is the Better Buildings Challenge (BBC)?

The US Department of Energy is challenging leading executives of "US companies, universities, school districts, multifamily organizations, and state and local governments" to reduce their portfolio's energy consumption by 20% over the next 10 years. The challenge not only cuts energy usage and costs, but has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs.

Multifamily Residential Sector Expansion

The BBC has recently expanded to include 57 multi-family organizations that have partnered to increase energy efficiency across their building portfolios. Many of these organizations, including Green Coast Enterprises, Corcoran Management, and the National Housing Trust, use WegoWise to track and benchmark their energy and water use. The range of multi-family portfolio commitments vary from 22,000 sqft to 50 million sqft and make up 7% of the total BBC portfolio. This multi-family sector expansion will save $7 billion in energy costs and 430 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency improvements in multifamily buildings include: heating and cooling system upgrades, rooftop solar systems, and financing for energy retrofits.

The Results (So Far)

In its first year, the Better Buildings Challenge has yielded some impressive results. Energy intensity has improved by an average of 2.5% per year in the BBC portfolio. This is approximately $58 Million saved in energy costs or 110,000 vehicles removed from the road.

Some Highlights

• Macy's Metro Center has saved $220,000 per year by installing HVAC dampers and LED lighting to reduce energy use by 30%
• University of Utah has improved its HVAC system which cut $50,000 in costs and reduced energy consumption by 41%
• Alcoa completed an efficient recycling plant that reduces energy use by 30%

For more information, visit http://www4.eere.energy.gov/challenge/

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