What Is the Better Buildings Challenge, and How Can Your Facilities Receive Recognition?

As organizations move to reduce their contribution to climate change and pollution, reexamining behavioral and operational procedures becomes paramount. Those willing to put in the work required to become an industry leader in sustainability should get familiar with the Better Buildings Challenge, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) leadership initiative designed to advance energy conservation.


(Related: What Is the ENERGY STAR® Score for K-12 Schools & How Can It Help Make the Business Case for Energy Upgrades at Your School?)


Better Buildings Challenge Defined

Better Buildings encourages executives across organizations both public and private — e.g., K-12 school districts, higher education, local government, commercial businesses and data centers — to lead the way as their respective sectors turn to sustainable practices. Organizations use consumption numbers from a designated base year and set a goal of reducing energy consumption by at least 20 percent over a 10-year period.

Today, more than 350 organizations have committed to the standards laid out by the DOE, representing 4.4 billion square feet and 40,000 benchmarked properties.


Cityscape of Frankfurt in Germany


Who Can Sign On?

For K-12 school districts that sign onto the Better Buildings Challenge, energy-efficient measures often result in cost savings, since less energy needs to be purchased from utility companies. Schools can use these savings to fill gaps in their budgets or fund projects that more directly contribute to student learning — rather than paying a utility provider.

An institution of higher education looking to grow its image should consider the Challenge. As of press time, fewer than 20 colleges and universities across the country have taken the pledge, leaving ample room for other institutions to position themselves as early sustainability leaders.

Since many large universities own their power plants and energy infrastructure, sustainability enterprises would allow autonomy in all decisions made, making the level of savings due to consumption decrease dependent on the commitment of the university, as opposed to outside forces.

Local and state governmental bodies can likewise get in on energy savings. Here, the resulting dollar savings give governments the vital appearance of spending taxpayer funds prudently, optimizing energy expenditures to make sure more money is allocated to meet the needs of residents.

For private companies, the Challenge presents an opportunity for positive press. Consumers enjoy hearing about organizations committing to sustainability measures, especially if the organization is for-profit. Additionally, the dollar savings from meeting Challenge standards make for an easier sell to decision makers.


Water- and Waste-Saving Initiatives

For organizations seeking a comprehensive overhaul of facility operations, the Better Buildings Challenge welcomes both water-saving and waste-saving programs.

Commitments for water savings focus on organizations improving water efficiency by at least 20 percent over a 10-year span. Projected benefits include lowered operating and utility costs, protected water supplies, preserved natural ecosystems and improved water quality.

Currently in its pilot stage, the DOE is in the process of forming an outline for a waste reduction program. Just like a water conservation plan, waste conservation offers many benefits, such as a decreased greenhouse gas footprint and increased efficiency.

Cenergistic Clients

To further the impact and recognition of their energy programs, several Cenergistic clients have already signed onto the Better Buildings Challenge:

More are expected to join these ranks, and your organization could soon recognize the same benefits of energy conservation. Contact Cenergistic today by visiting Cenergistic online or calling 1-855-798-7779.


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