BETTER Garners Award, Avid Interest

June 23rd 2021
The lit skyline of Atlanta, GA at night

The Building Efficiency Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits (BETTER), a technology that identifies cost-saving energy reductions in building portfolios, continues to win accolades and support from researchers and investors alike. Already the winner of multiple awards, including an R&D 100, recognizing it as one of  2020’s most innovative and disruptive technologies, BETTER recently became a 2021 EarthX Climate Tech Prize semi-finalist, an award that connects early-stage developers with investors. Since the EarthX E-Capital Summit, half-a-dozen investors have expressed interest in supporting BETTER’s maturation and potential commercialization.

BETTER is a web-based application that increases the speed and scale of energy retrofit identification. With minimal data inputs, BETTER can quickly screen an entire building portfolio and identify easy no-or-low-cost operational interventions (such as pre-cooling or de-lamping) that can cut energy costs between 5% and 10% portfolio-wide. It also identifies facilities that have the greatest potential for reducing costs, energy, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for more in-depth audits and analysis. 

BETTER was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) by a multidisciplinary team of Berkeley Lab researchers bridging expertise in building science and market transformation in a public/private partnership with Johnson Controls. The result is a user-friendly tool that goes beyond benchmarking to recommend efficiency, decarbonization, and electrification measures for global building portfolios. 

BETTER is rapidly gaining traction in the marketplace and has seen a 55% increase in registered user organizations in just three months. Three hundred and forty organizations representing approximately 15,000 buildings use BETTER, including federal, state, and municipal government agencies; school districts; energy service companies; universities and multinational corporations. Here is what organizations are saying about BETTER:

  • “I'm convinced that BETTER is an important evolutionary step for the U.S. Department of Energy and the broader market.” — Chris Pyke, Senior Vice President, Product, Arc Skoru, Inc.

  • "BETTER has helped our school division identify substantial energy cost savings, which can be redirected into the classroom. With its simple data inputs and powerful analytics, we believe BETTER is poised to help hundreds of school districts across the country to improve their energy, financial, and environmental performance." — Bryan Conrad, Energy Education Coordinator for Prince William County Public Schools 

Retrofitting buildings with smart, high-efficiency equipment and systems is key to meeting carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction goals (building operations contribute 28% of global CO2 emissions), but less than 1% of buildings globally are retrofitted each year. With its portfolio-wide analysis, ease of use, and ability to replace costly in-person level 1 audits, BETTER has the potential to dramatically reduce worldwide GHG emissions and contribute to the Biden Administration’s goal of a 100% clean energy economy with net zero emissions by 2050. 

To learn more about BETTER, see the recent Advances in Applied Energy article, “Data-Driven Analysis Tool Plays Critical Role in Climate Neutral Buildings,” or visit https://better.lbl.gov/.

U.S. DOE BTO Program Contacts: Marc LaFrance, Marc.Lafrance@ee.doe.gov and Harry Bergmann, harry.bergmann@ee.doe.gov.  

Berkeley Lab Program Contact: Carolyn Szum, Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division (EAEI), Energy Technologies Area, CCSzum@lbl.gov.

BETTER is being developed under Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) No. FP00007338 between the Regents of the University of California Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, under its U.S. DOE Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231, and Johnson Controls.