Better Buildings Challenge Participants Improve Efficiency 2.5% Annually

BBCCompanies that are part of President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge have improved facility energy efficiency by more than 2.5 percent per year on average compared to their baseline years, according to results from the program released b the US Department of Energy.

Those savings are equal to about $58 million in annual energy savings, the Energy Department said.

The project so far covers around 7,700 facilities to date. Since their baseline year 1,300 of those facilities have cut their energy intensity by more than 20 percent. Some 2,100 sites have reduced their energy intensity by 10 to 20 percent compared to their baseline year, according to the results.

Over the first year of the Challenge, these partners have also completed more than 50 showcase projects that highlight what the Energy Department calls “innovative, cost-effective energy saving strategies.” Better Buildings Challenge financial allies have also extended more than $1.1 billion in private financing for energy efficiency improvements.

Some examples of organizations in the Better Buildings Challenge include Kohl’s. With a 112 million square foot commitment and more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Kohl’s has achieved a 7 percent reduction in energy intensity since its 2008 baseline year. The Kohl’s showcase project store, located in Niles, Ohio, has achieved a 20 percent reduction in annual energy use by replacing its roof top heating and cooling unit, conducting a lighting upgrade and re-commissioning its energy control systems.

Since its baseline year in 2010, Michigan State University has achieved a 10 percent reduction in energy intensity, made possible in part through its commitment to submetering as many buildings as possible, and conducting a continuous auditing program of new or newly adjusted systems to ensure efficiency is sustained, Department said.

Each year, the United States 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 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to catalyze revolutionary change in energy use and achieve record-breaking energy bill savings. More than 110 organizations – including local governments, school districts, universities, commercial real estate, healthcare and manufacturing – are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency, the Department said.

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