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Leading by Example: Better Buildings Challenge Partners Cut Energy Use

May 22, 2013 - 12:00pm

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New infographic breaks down the data companies submitted for the first year of the Better Buildings Challenge. | Infographic by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department.

New infographic breaks down the data companies submitted for the first year of the Better Buildings Challenge. | Infographic by Sarah Gerrity, Energy Department.

Since President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge in 2011, more than 110 organizations representing over 2 billion square feet of commercial and industrial space have joined the initiative. These leading organizations committed to reduce their portfolio-wide energy use by 20 percent by 2020, and they are well on the way to meeting their goal -- improving their energy intensity by an average of more than 2.5 percent. Those energy savings equate to 8.5 trillion BTUs and $58 million in savings.

Even more encouraging are the results from some of this year’s standouts. Companies cut their energy intensity this year by 20 percent or more at 1,300 facilities and by 10 percent or more at an additional 2,100 facilities. If partners continue to improve their energy intensity -- a measurement of energy use that helps compare energy use across facilities and track savings over time -- at the 2.5 percent per year rate, their improvements will total more than 20 percent over 10 years.

Better Buildings Challenge partners are doing more than reducing energy use and saving money. They are showing leadership by sharing their knowledge and strategies with one another -- making sure their successful approaches can be recreated in stores, fire stations, libraries, civic centers, hotels, dormitories, historic buildings, manufacturing facilities and others buildings across the nation.

While we’re on our way, there’s plenty of work left to be done. The U.S. spends about $200 billion each year 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. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, our partners and allies are turning the tide on industrial and commercial energy use, breaking through barriers to improve energy intensity, and achieving lasting results that save money, create jobs and increase the competitiveness of American business.

Congratulations to our partners on a successful first year, and here’s to many more years of energy savings!

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