Energy Department Recognizes Atlanta for National Leadership in the Better Buildings Challenge

June 4,2013

On May 29, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized Atlanta for its leadership in the first year of the Better Buildings Challenge. Launched by President Obama in December 2011, the Better Buildings Challenge is a national leadership initiative that calls on chief executive officers, university presidents, and state and local leaders to reduce the energy used across their building portfolios by 20 percent or more by 2020.

The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge beat its first year’s goal of 2 million square feet, with over 78 buildings at more than 50,000,000 square feet of building space committed to making sustainability improvements in Downtown Atlanta. On average, Better Buildings Challenge partners reduced their energy intensity by 2.5 percent in the first year of the initiative, putting them on track to meet the President’s goal by 2020.

"Through the Better Buildings Challenge, our Partners are breaking through barriers to reducing energy intensity and achieving lasting results that save money and create jobs," said David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "We applaud these Partners for their leadership in making their organizations more energy-efficient which keeps American businesses competitive and communities prosperous."

Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge participants reduced their energy use by developing and implementing an energy-saving schedule. The Atlanta BBC team worked with building owners to provide incentives such as free building assessments, education and training courses, access to project financing opportunities and more. Future plans to meet Atlanta’s energy reduction goals include expansion beyond Downtown, into the Midtown and Buckhead neighborhoods.

“The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge is a cornerstone in our city’s sustainability efforts, and we are proud of the extraordinary gains and commitment Atlanta property owners have made,” said Denise Quarles, Director of Sustainability for the City of Atlanta.

In addition to the Better Buildings Challenge partners, financial institutions and utilities participate in the Challenge as Allies. Financial Allies are working to drive innovative solutions and financing products for energy efficiency, while Utility Allies are working to provide commercial customers with multi-measure energy efficiency programs and access to usage data that helps buildings owners better manage their energy use.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each year the U.S. spends about $200 billion just to power commercial buildings – and another $200 billion to power industrial facilities. Together, commercial and industrial buildings account for roughly half of the nation’s energy use and more than 40 percent of our carbon emissions. In many buildings, these costs can be reduced by 20 percent or more through various energy efficiency measures and approaches. Energy efficiency projects undertaken include changing to LED lighting, upgrading heating and cooling systems, and utilizing new refrigeration technologies.

For more information on the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge’s activities and accomplishments, please visit A full list of the Better Buildings Challenge industrial, corporate, educational and state and municipal partners can be found here. For more information about the progress of the Better Buildings Challenge to date, please click here.