Building operations account for a whopping 35% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. A free online tool developed by Berkeley Lab with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) — the Building Efficiency Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits (BETTER) — is helping to bring that number down by virtually evaluating buildings for immediate no- and low-cost energy efficiency upgrades.
BETTER eliminates the need for costly in-person initial assessments, and its recommendations for simple energy efficiency improvements allow building owners to immediately cut energy use, cost, and greenhouse gas emissions by 5 to 10% while prioritizing facilities for more in-depth assessments based on their potential for deeper energy savings.
A total of 480 organizations have taken advantage of the tool since its initial release in 2020. A California state agency recently used it to audit 450 buildings, avoiding $3.3 million in in-person audit costs. The planned retrofits in nine of these buildings will save taxpayers an estimated $800,000 annually.
For Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia, where 40% of students are economically disadvantaged, small changes like reducing equipment schedules saved $77,000 in annual energy costs. In New England, Energy General LLC is leading a grassroots effort using BETTER to identify buildings in underserved neighborhoods that are most in need of renovation.
“BETTER offers a possibility of delivering efficiency retrofits in underserved markets faster and cheaper by orders of magnitude,” said Energy General LLC founder Tom Strumolo.
BETTER also supports the Biden Administration’s goal of a 100% clean energy economy that serves everyone and reduces the energy burdens in underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Read the full article at the Energy Technologies Area website.