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Better Buildings Challenge to Cut Energy Waste Grows by 1 Billion Square Feet

May 9,2014


WASHINGTON – Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Administration’s Better Buildings Challenge, the Energy Department announced today that Better Buildings Challenge partners are on track to meet their energy performance goals in their second year, saving approximately $100 million a year.  The Department also announced that 26 new partners and 7 financial allies – including Wal-Mart, General Mills, City of San Diego, Jonathan Rose Companies, Hannon Armstrong, and Enterprise Community Partners – have committed to improving energy efficiency across more than 1 billion square feet of building space.  These partners have shared results from more than 70 showcase projects and 40 implementation models – describing their successful approaches to help others follow their lead.

“Better Buildings Challenge partners exemplify leadership in energy efficiency by creating innovative strategies to save energy, water and money across a range of industries,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Whether it’s investing in new technology or implementing rewards programs with employees, Better Buildings partners are not only creating cutting edge approaches to energy efficiency but they are also sharing their successes with the marketplace.”

This year, several partners including the University of California at Irvine, Best Buy, Legrand and Cummins not only hit their energy saving goals but also pledged to continue to increase their energy efficiency and four financial allies have surpassed their original financing commitment including AFL-CIO, Citi, Energi and Green Campus Partners.

Better Buildings Challenge Grows by 1 Billion Square Feet

In February 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to make commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next 10 years and accelerate private sector investment in energy efficiency. Now, more than 190 companies, universities, school districts, multifamily housing organizations and state and local governments are cutting energy waste, improving their bottom lines and sharing best practices across the U.S. building sector.

The Energy Department announced today 26 new partners and 7 new financial allies have joined the Better Buildings Challenge – adding more than 1 billion square feet in building space and bringing total commitments to over 3 billion square feet. These partners will work with the Energy Department to achieve portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful, cost-effective strategies to maximize building efficiency:

New Partners:

Anne Arundel County Public Schools commits 13 million square feet of school buildings.
Balfour Beatty Communities commits 50 million square feet of multifamily residential housing across 44,000 units.
Capitol Hill Housing commits more than 1 million square feet of multifamily residential housing.
Commonwealth Partners commits 11 million square feet across its commercial properties.
Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the 7th largest Public Housing Authority in the country, commits its multifamily portfolio of over 10,500 units.
Eastman Chemical commits 8 plants.
General Mills commits 27 plants.
General Motors commits 31 plants covering 84 million square feet.
HARBEC commits 1 plant covering 50,000 square feet.
Hilton Worldwide commits its company-owned portfolio of 14 million square feet.
Jonathan Rose Companies commits 2.7 million square feet across 2,855 multifamily housing units.
City of Margate, FL commits 120,000 square feet.
MGM Resorts International commits 78 million square feet.
Minneapolis Public Housing Authority commits almost 4.5 million square feet of affordable multifamily housing.
New Bedford Housing Authority commits 2.6 million square feet across 2500 multifamily housing units.
Penn State University commits 28 million square feet.
Rockford Housing Authority commits 3 million square feet across more than 1,000 multifamily housing units.
City of San Diego, CA commits 9.5 million square feet.
Towson University commits 5.5 million square feet campus-wide.
University of Virginia commits 15 million square feet.
UTC commits 159 plants covering 38 million square feet. 
Walmart commits 850 million square feet.
Whole Foods Market commits close to 13 million square feet.
VLV commits 25,000 square feet of multifamily residential housing.
Volvo commits 8 plants covering 5 million square feet.
Wishrock Investment Group commits 8 million square feet across 8,000 multifamily housing units.

New Financial Allies:

California Housing Partnership commits $25 million.
Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority commits $25 million.
Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. commits $25 million.
Hannon Armstrong commits $250 million.
LISC commits $25 million.
Low Income Investment Fund commits $2.5 million.
TBL Fund commits $25 million.

Better Buildings Partners Demonstrating Continued Success

Across the country, Better Buildings Challenge partners are deploying energy efficiency projects at more than 9,000 facilities. Of these, more than 2,100 buildings have improved energy efficiency by at least 20 percent, while another 4,500 have improved energy efficiency by at least 10 percent, compared to their baseline years. Better Buildings Challenge financial allies have also extended more than $1.7 billion in private financing for building efficiency improvements reaching 97 percent of their collective goal.

For example, Metrus Energy and Energi worked together to finance $5.8 million in energy upgrades at Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu, including installing a new central heating and cooling plant, deploying energy management and control systems and upgrading lighting. The project is expected to save about 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and more than $1 million in energy costs each year. In Beaufort, S.C., Lend Lease has strengthened building envelopes and retrofitted duct systems at the Laurel Bay Marine Corps housing community – cutting energy needs by 40 percent.

Additionally, 20 Better Buildings Challenge partners are participating in a new Water Savings Pilot. This expansion of the Challenge will allow Partners to share water performance data, to track progress toward a water goal, and to cut energy wasted from the inefficient use of water: 

CampusCrest Communities
City of Atlanta
Eden Housing
Ford Motor Company
City of Fort Worth
General Motors
Kohl's Department Stores
NHT/Enterprise Preservation Corporation
Nissan North America
Poudre School District, CO
St. Gobain
Tonti Properties
Trinity Management
City of West Palm Beach

The announcements made today are part of an Administration-wide effort to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar deployment and energy efficiency. For a detailed progress report on the Better Buildings Challenge and to find out more about partners and their energy efficiency projects, visit: