Higher Education

With more than 20 million post-secondary students, and over 5 billion square feet of floor space, the higher education sector in the United States spends an estimated $14 billion annually on energy costs. Colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions across the U.S. hold unique places in their communities—as civic, academic, and cultural stewards, and opinion shapers. Students, staff, alumni, elected officials, and the general public expect higher education institutions to exhibit wise leadership coupled with strong fiscal oversight—a challenge in the best economic times.

The Higher Education sector group aims to connect members with the vetted energy-saving building components and technologies to reduce current building operating costs and mitigate future cost volatility.View select opportunities for Higher Education members.

Contact us for additional information.

Highlighted Activities

Try proven energy-saving strategies documented in the Better Buildings Challenge Implementation Models
Review implementation models that outline actions, tools, and supporting documentation used successfully by partners who have taken the Better Buildings Challenge to achieve their portfolio-wide energy efficiency savings goals. See Implementation Models from University of California, Irvine, Allegheny College, Michigan State University, University of Utah, Delaware State, and more. Contact us for additional assistance when you’re ready to try out one of these strategies in your own portfolio.

Sign your support for the Wireless Meter Challenge and review the specification
The wireless meter challenge has been launched to catalyze the development of low cost metering solutions. Meters are an integral component of energy reduction in commercial buildings as they provide access to real time granular energy use data, allowing decision makers to make informed and immediate changes to their energy consuming building systems.

Participate in a field test of Next Generation Luminaire downlight winners
Demo high-performance LED downlight luminaires from Next Generation Luminaire competitions. Preference for host sites is given to Better Buildings Alliance member facilities, and results will provide real-world data on product performance and cost effectiveness.

Attend an in-person retuning training
Improve your workforce’s energy efficiency IQ by taking part in a Better Buildings workforce activity.

Join the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign
LEEP into lighting and lower your facility's exterior lighting operating costs through thoughtful design of a new parking site or lighting retrofits. To become part of the campaign, submit a registration form. Visit the Lighting & Electrical team page for more information.

Save energy by managing your laboratory's freezers, reheat, and fume hoods
Retrofit high efficiency fume hoods, take advantage of the fume hood sash management campaign, and reduce simultaneous heating and cooling. Visit the Laboratories team page to see savings data from Better Buildings Alliance member implementation of lab efficiency measures and more information.

Save energy by installing high performance rooftop units (RTUs), implementing retrofit measures, and joining the Advanced RTU Campaign
The Space Conditioning team is helping members realize energy and costs savings of 20 to 50% through the installation of new high efficiency RTUs produced by the High Performance Rooftop Unit Challenge, advanced control retrofits, and participation in the Advanced RTU Campaign.

Participate in Technology Solutions Teams
Further your energy-saving goals by connecting with Technology Solutions Teams, such as Lighting & Electrical, Energy Management Information Systems, Laboratories, Refrigeration, Space Conditioning, and Food Service.

Energy Management Resources

ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
A proven approach for U.S. industrial and commercial facilities to continually improve energy performance. This powerful new standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides an internationally recognized framework for organizations to voluntarily implement an energy management system.

U.S. EPA Guidelines for Energy Management
A proven strategy for energy management developed by the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR program.

Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS)
A framework developed by AASHE for measuring and reporting an institution’s overall sustainability performance.

EPA Report and Case Study (2007)
A best practice guide for sub-metering campus buildings.

Financing Resources

Better Buildings Challenge Financial Allies
Financial Allies have committed nearly $2 billion to help owners and managers improve the efficiency of their buildings. Learn more about their offerings.

Better Buildings Alliance Financing Team
The Market Solutions Financing Team is working to overcome access to low-cost, third-party capital to help offset high up-front costs.

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
A comprehensive database of incentives, rebates and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States.

Show Me the Money (2011)
A report by the Environmental Defense Fund and their partners that examines barriers to energy efficiency financing and strategies to overcome them. Higher education is one of several sectors discussed in the report.

Join the Billion Dollar Green Challenge
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed green revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements.

Green Revolving Funds: A Guide to Implementation and Management (2013)
A white paper that helps colleges and universities build the business case for energy efficiency by establishing a green revolving fund.

Green Revolving Funds Case Studies
Case Studies provide in-depth and high-quality examples of how GRFs have successfully been structured.

Webinar: Implementation Strategies for Campus Green Revolving Funds
This webinar provides a roadmap to implementing and managing a successful green revolving fund to finance energy efficiency and sustainability projects.

Greening the Bottom Line (2012)
A report summarizing and analyzing trends in green revolving fund adoption and performance among colleges and universities.

Green Revolving Investment Tracking System (GRITS)
Developed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute to help institutions track, manage, and share performance data for energy efficiency projects funded under a green revolving fund. The tool is available only to members of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge.

Additional Resources

Better Buildings Alliance Specifications
Better Buildings Alliance members and DOE technical experts collaborate on Technical Solutions Teams to develop energy-saving performance specifications. Higher Education sector members can use these specifications to deploy advanced wireless metering, rooftop unit, parking lot, parking structure, troffer lighting, and laboratory fume hood technologies in their facilities.

ENERGY STAR for Higher Education
A collection of benchmarking and energy management resources.

Energy & Sustainability Programs at Universities
Information and links to nearly 20 university-based U.S. Energy Research Centers.

Clean Air-Cool Planet’s Campus Carbon Calculator
For measuring resource use, calculating greenhouse gas emissions, and analyzing the financial and environmental performance of energy efficiency projects and other mitigation strategies.

  • Arizona State University*
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Cornell University*
  • Duke University*
  • Emory University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Loyola University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Portland State University*
  • San Mateo Community College District
  • Stanford University*
  • Tulane University*
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis

* Steering Committee member
Members in bold have taken the Better Buildings Challenge