As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently announced the winners of a competition that challenges collegiate students to develop and present real-world solutions to boost the energy efficiency of buildings across the country. Secretary Chu recognized the winners of the Better Buildings Case Competition, part of the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge, at an event at the White House on March 5th, and congratulated them for their efforts to tackle some of the most common and stubborn barriers to improving energy efficiency. Nineteen university teams analyzed case studies focusing on a range of challenges faced by private-sector organizations and state and local governments, who are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their operations. The case studies consisted of real scenarios, background information, and data provided primarily by Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge program, a broad public-private partnership working to achieve President Obama’s goal of making America’s commercial and industrial buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020.
Among the winners, Carnegie Mellon University was awarded “Best Proposal” for their District of Columbia Case Study, in which the team recommended an outright sale or long-term lease of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center site to a master developer. The terms of the contract would require the master developer to meet water and energy sustainability milestones, while the District would award property tax refunds to the developer to meet these goals. All of the incentives would be revenue-neutral to the District and structured to reward achievement of the goals.