BBNP Fosters Innovative State and Local Partnerships, Helping Over 100,000 Residents Save Energy
The federal system gives states the freedom to experiment with different strategies to encourage the implementation of energy efficiency, but too often they lack the resources to support these new and exciting ideas. To help combat this issue, the Department of Energy launched the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program (BBNP) in April, 2010 as part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Better Buildings Initiative. The Program works with 41 state and local partners across the country to improve energy efficiency in buildings, promoting increased comfort for homeowners and lower operating costs for businesses.
The BBNP aims to lower barriers for energy efficiency in buildings, and recently celebrated the milestone of helping more than 100,000 home and business owners save energy. Here’s a look at some of the positive impacts of the Program thus far.
In less than 4 years, BBNP has supported partners in training more than 5,000 home performance professionals and has employed over 1,400 contractors. Not only are jobs being created, but contractors across the country are also being trained in efficiency communications and developing their expertise. For example, Efficiency Maine offered sales training to participating contractors, raising conversion rates (of consultation to implementing upgrades) from 10% to 60%.
Partner organizations are encouraged to be creative with program design in order to respond to communities’ unique needs. For instance, BetterBuildings for Michigan - one of the innovative programs highlighted at our Energy 2030 On the Road event in Ann Arbor - uses a “sweep” tactic to raise awareness. Community partners travel door-to-door to discuss efficiency upgrade options and contractors follow up to those interested in participating.
Money and Energy Savings
On average, BBNP energy upgrades save homeowners more than 20 percent in total energy use, for projected savings of over $730 million. To date, there have been more than $780 million worth of energy upgrades. Again, creativity is vital in delivering maximum savings, and these numbers are given context when reading the success stories that partners have shared on EERE’s website.
The Better Buildings Neighborhood Program exemplifies the power of community-based initiatives. The benefits so far are clear and will only continue to develop. Jobs have been created, money and energy has been saved, and homeowners and businesses are becoming more aware about the benefits of energy efficiency upgrades.