Community Building Renewal Initiative

This solution addresses Developing a City Strategic Energy Management Plan in Northwest United States for Cities and Municipalities

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Problem Description

Existing buildings with aging equipment and infrastructure represent a tremendous opportunity for energy savings. The energy performance of public buildings is often cited when jurisdictions consider expenses. However, without a mechanism to identify inefficient buildings, prioritize upgrades and guide policy, In most cities, building energy codes are the primary way that energy performance of buildings is regulated. While codes can have significant impact on new buildings, the impact on existing buildings is limited to major renovation projects. Furthermore, the influence of energy codes ends before the building is occupied so they have limited impact on actual energy use over the life of the building. As jurisdictions begin to grapple with this issue, they are coming to recognize that their own publicly-owned portfolio of buildings represent an opportunity to both reduce energy use and to demonstrate leadership in targeting broader city sustainability and performance goals.

Building Blocks


A pilot program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Northwest
Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) has allowed New Buildings Institute (NBI) and
supporting partners to work directly with several jurisdictions to provide solutions
through the Community Building Renewal pilot program.

NEEA and NBI are developing this pilot program to help jurisdictions adopt
meaningful policies to address the performance of public building portfolios.
Measured energy use data is being used to compare energy consumption
in public buildings and identify the opportunities for physical and operational
performance improvements. Using performance diagnostics tools developed
by NBI, performance characteristics of buildings are being evaluated and
prioritized to identify where limited jurisdictional resources can be most effective
in improving building performance, and to develop longer term plans to monitor
and manage public building performance.

Additional Information

City of Boise Testimonial

“We were all very impressed by your team’s willingness to listen to our feedback/concerns and customize solutions to meet our needs. The result was a very successful project that delivered several outcomes that will positively affect our City in the decades to come. Specifically:

• Systematic Approach. Prior to the CBR Pilot, we were struggling with how to organize our approach to reducing energy use. We are confident that we now have an approach to energy reduction that allows us to systematically baseline current activities, prioritize next steps, and develop action plans to make tangible reductions.

• Efficiency First. Perhaps the most important realization that came from this project was to emphasize efficiency first in design and operation. By emphasizing efficiency, we’re able to make substantive reductions in the near term to establish program momentum while reducing future capital costs for upgrades.

• Identify Needs. Through the process, we recognized the need for better data collection and tracking. As a result, we are adding ½ FTE for energy data management and have hired a Sustainability Coordinator to help manage the tracking and reporting of data to the public. In addition, we are partnering with Idaho Power to identify ways to increase the granularity of data to better inform our decision making.

• Energy Disclosure. Based on the project’s data management work, we are working to establish the means by which the City will disclose energy use at various municipal facilities. This will allow us to lead by example in our community and work towards broader energy disclosure policies.

• Metrics and Goals. As a result of the project, we are moving aggressively towards establishing specific energy reduction metrics and goals for internal municipal operations as well as external community activities. This will be done through a formal City of Boise Energy Reduction Plan that establishes clear glide paths for reduction over time.”

– Steve Burgos, Environmental Manager, City of Boise

The City of Boise has participated as the first pilot location in the Northwest. The project team has helped the city to set up performance tracking protocols and to understand building performance issues and priorities. Policymakers have closely tracked this progress, and have used this information to set up new city-wide building performance goals and to adopt a set of strong building performance and sustainability goals for the City moving forward. The program team has used the pilot results to help the city develop a strategic energy management plan, and to build a business case for outcome-based energy policies and to provide lessons learned for other cities.

The Community Building Renewal pilot program will give cities a toolkit that helps them to track and manage the performance of municipal building portfolios, while moving toward broader policies to extend these efforts to the entire building stock. The strategy allows cities to ‘led by example’ while building expertise and credibility in managing building performance. As demonstrated in the City of Boise, these efforts can quickly become part of wider city energy and sustainability efforts.


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Organisations Involved

Contributed By

  • Ken Baker, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • Mark Frankel, New Buildings Institute
  • Clay Teeter, Maalka Incorporated
  • Wynne Teeter, Maalka Incorporated
  • John Black, Maalka
  • Sharon Grant, Ec Edge
  • Rimas Gulbinas, Maalka
  • John Teeter, Maalka Incorporated

Solution Stage

One of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
Developing and implementing5
Strong leadership, management, implementation skills
  • Policy design
  • Programme design
  • Business modelling
  • Organisational design
  • Prepare for some adaptation to implementation
  • Programme funds, equity, loans, grants
A robust and detailed case developed through formal evaluation and evidence gathering – use of a control group to isolate impact
An implemented and sustainable innovation

Key Details