The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
May 21st, 2018

The Ongoing Success of the Better Buildings Initiative

The Better Buildings Initiative published its 2018 Progress Report last week, and there are some promising figures within.

Take it straight from the report:

“The Better Buildings Initiative has grown to encompass more than 900 organizations, which represents 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, 12 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 12% of the U.S. manufacturing footprint and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as 28 states and close to 100 cities and counties across the nation. Better Buildings partners are driving energy efficiency in the U.S. economy … this includes 380 trillion Btus, or $3.1 billion in reported cumulative energy and cost savings … Partners reduced their energy intensity by an average of 2% per year, keeping them on track to meet the program’s 10-year, 20% reduction goal.”

That’s a real impact. I’ve been following the program for a while, and I’ve been attending the Better Buildings Summit for the past five years. I’ve seen attendance grow as more suppliers, building owners and developers join, and each year’s progress report indicates forward momentum.

I’m somewhat surprised to see that the program has survived some of the budget cuts outlined and administered by President Trump’s administration (see the targeting of EnergyStar), but the proof is right there in the numbers. The program was initiated by President Obama’s Department of Energy (DOE) as a way to encourage building owners and developers to adopt energy-efficient technologies through challenges and recognition, rather than through grant funding. It’s been a major success—and given that there’s no incentive for grant funding makes it a very high-yield program.

It’s been so successful, in fact, that this approach—using recognition and education programs in place of grants—has become a model for the DOE and many of its projects. It’s not the only way to incentivize businesses and property owners to invest in energy efficiency, but The View from Here is that it’s changed the market for energy-efficient buildings in an undoubtedly positive way.

As for the fenestration industry, we have an ongoing opportunity to participate in initiatives like this one. Increasing the awareness and importance of our products’ energy performance remains important, for the world and for our businesses.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com

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