Better Buildings Program Promotes Energy Efficiency

By William Atkinson | Sep 15, 2017




September 29, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that partners in its Better Buildings, Better Plants Program have saved about $4.2 billion in cumulative energy costs over the last seven years across nearly 3,000 facilities that represent about 12 percent of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint.

By being able to reduce energy costs, Better Plants partners are able to improve their productivity, create jobs and increase their resiliency. According to the DOE, a recent study shows industrial energy efficiency savings potential in the United States on the order of 7,500 TBtu between 2016 and 2035, or the rough equivalent of $35 billion at current energy prices.

As part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants partners voluntarily set a long-term goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period across all of their U.S. operations.

Organizations may also take the higher-level Better Plants Challenge by publicly sharing energy performance data and solutions—in addition to setting an energy-saving goal—so that many more companies can see a pathway to improved competitiveness.

Last year, four Challenge partners and four Program partners achieved their energy savings goals. This brings the total number of goal achievers to 43 over the past four years, meaning more than 20 percent of all partners have met their ambitious energy saving goals. In addition, 15 goal-achieving partners have doubled-down, re-pledging to the program with new, more ambitious goals. One of these Challenge partners, Celanese Corp. (Irving, Texas), has already met its second goal, after meeting its first goal in 2014.

Over the past year, the DOE welcomed 12 Program partners and five Challenge partners, bringing the total number of partners committing to improving energy performance to 190. The program has also added new resources and advanced new ways to share partner successes:

  • New Better Practice and Better Project awards were introduced in 2017 for exceptional energy-efficiency solutions.
  • The Field Validation and Diagnostic Equipment Program was created to facilitate data analysis and measurement among partners.

Overall, partners in the program have contributed more than 1,000 energy-saving solutions, which are available for viewing at

Readers can target specific solutions on the site via eight filters: Barrier, Building Size, Building Type, Location, Partner, Sector, Content Type, and Technology.

About The Author

ATKINSON has been a full-time business magazine writer since 1976. Contact him at [email protected]

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