Better Plants Program March Newsletter

U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Better Plants Partners' Monthly Newsletter
March 2014
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The best source for insider news on the Better Plants Program
In This Issue:
Partners in the News
•   General Sheet Metal Works Becomes Newest Better Plants Partner
•   Better Plants Named a Top Ten Clean Energy Development of 2013
•   Schneider Electric Demonstrates Advanced Energy Data Management
•   DOE Invites Partners to Peer Review on Advanced Manufacturing Programs and Projects
DOE Activities & Updates
•   Better Plants Newsletter Moving to New Format to Expand Coverage
•   New Better Plants Pilot Focuses on Supply Chain Energy Efficiency
•   5 Effective Ways to Promote Your Better Plants Leadership
•   New Better Plants FAQs Posted Online
•   Work with DOE to Finalize Your Energy Performance Data
•   Join the LEEP Campaign: Save Energy and Money on Parking Lot Lighting
•   Updated Energy and Carbon Footprints Released by AMO
Upcoming Events & Webinars
•   Save-the-Date: Better Buildings Summit, May 7th-9th (Washington, DC)
•   In-Plant Training Applications Now Open
•   Upcoming In-Plant Trainings: March 10th-12th and May 13th-15th
•   Goodyear In-Plant Pre-Training Webinar on Steam Systems: April 22nd
•   Better Plants Featured at EnergySMART 2014 (Philadelphia, March 27th-29th) and GLOBALCON 2014 (Atlantic City, April 9th-10th)

 Partners in the News

General Sheet Metal Works Becomes Newest Better Plants Partner

The Better Plants Program is proud to welcome its newest partner company, General Sheet Metal Works (GSMW). By joining Better Plants, the company pledges to reduce the energy intensity of its U.S. manufacturing operations by 25% over ten years. GSMW was founded in 1922 as an industrial sheet metal contractor, and has since evolved into a leader in the American metal fabricating industry, ranking seventh last year on The Fabricator magazine’s "Fab 40" list. The company currently serves a number of industry segments, including lawn and garden, solar power, automotive aftermarket, military vehicles, agricultural equipment, and data center infrastructure. GSMW employs in-house engineering, a variety of production processes and recently acquired AAA Tool and Die Co., as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. All of these capabilities support the company’s mission to secure their customers’ supply chains and to protect their brands, while enabling them to scale their operations.

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Better Plants Named a Top Ten Clean Energy Development of 2013

Congratulations to all the Better Plants Program Partners! The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a Colorado-based think tank, listed the Better Plants Program as one of last year’s most "remarkable clean energy developments" and praised industry partners for striving to meet ambitious energy-savings targets. "Cities get serious about building efficiency" also made the list, with RMI highlighting the work of Boston, Chicago (two Better Buildings Challenge partners), and Minneapolis to require benchmarking – comparing average energy use to similar buildings – and data disclosure for large buildings.

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Schneider Electric Demonstrates Advanced Energy Data Management

Like many large organizations, Better Plants Challenge Partner Schneider Electric has long strived to better manage energy use across multiple facilities and sites. Substantial swings in energy data due to regular changes in weather and production levels only added to the company energy managers' challenge. The company’s creative solutions to the issue are highlighted in their Implementation Model. As a global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric leveraged its internal expertise to develop a predictive energy model that normalizes baseline energy use and to document best practices. They also centralized this expertise in an existing group of facility managers and used them to disseminate and apply energy management capabilities across the company, as well as to standardize the reporting process.

Schneider Electric Technology Center
A photo of the Schneider Electric Technology Center in St. Louis, MO, which is dedicated to power and cooling research and development.

As part of the process, Schneider Electric provided energy management training to facility managers tasked with developing and implementing action plans to meet corporate energy efficiency targets. Those managers collaborated with other company experts and developed an effective energy model. Schneider Electric later began using DOE's Energy Performance Indicator regression analysis tool to measure electric and natural gas consumption at Schneider Electric facilities. The model allows individual facilities to normalize data, accounting for variations in weather, production, and other factors depending on unique situations. Since using the model, the company has been able to compare predicted consumption data with actual consumption data to accurately gauge the effectiveness of energy conservation efforts. Schneider Electric—also a participant in the Superior Energy Performance Accelerator program—credits the model with helping the company achieve a 16% reduction in energy use from a 2008 baseline under the Better Plants Challenge.

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DOE Invites Partners to Peer Review on Advanced Manufacturing Programs and Projects

As you make plans to attend the May 7-9 Better Buildings Summit (more information below), please also consider participating in the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office's (AMO) programmatic peer review, May 6-7, 2014. At this event, independent experts will assess the impact of AMO's research and development (R&D) projects and shared R&D facilities. These assessments will be used to enhance the management of existing efforts, gauge the effectiveness of projects, and design future programs.

The location of this event was selected to make it easy for stakeholders to attend both the peer review and the Better Buildings Summit. Proceedings on May 6, which will focus strictly on R&D projects, will be held at the Washington Marriott, less than a mile away from the Better Buildings Summit. On May 7, the peer review will take place at the Washington Hilton, the same hotel the Better Buildings Summit is being held. R&D projects will be covered the morning of May 7, before the Better Buildings Summit kicks off, with shared R&D facilities covered in the afternoon.

For more information on the AMO peer review and to find out how you can participate, please contact Bob Gemmer at or 202-586-5885.

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 DOE Activities & Updates

Better Plants Newsletter Moving to New Format to Expand Coverage

Beginning next month, the newsletter will shift to a bi-monthly format and expand coverage to include all of the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s Technical Assistance activities. The Technical Assistance program supports the deployment of innovative energy efficient manufacturing technologies and practices. The new format will give companies an opportunity to explore other DOE technical assistance offerings, including energy audits through the Industrial Assessment Centers, combined heat and power (CHP) support through the CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships, energy management tools and training through the Superior Energy Performance Program, and other initiatives focused on industrial energy efficiency. Keep an eye out for the inaugural issue on May 5!

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New Better Plants Pilot Focuses on Supply Chain Energy Efficiency

Through a new pilot effort, DOE is seeking to help Better Plants Partners advance energy efficiency through their supply chains. Specifically, DOE is looking to work with a few existing partners to enlist several of their suppliers in the Better Plants Program and set energy saving goals in partnership with the Department. DOE will deliver technical assistance to the suppliers and track their progress over time as a cohort. Through the pilot, Better Plants Partners will be able to further energy efficiency in their supply chains while suppliers will benefit from DOE technical assistance and national recognition as they achieve energy savings targets. Interested companies should contact their Technical Account Manager or reach out to Andre de Fontaine at or 202-586-6585.

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5 Effective Ways to Promote Your Better Plants Leadership

Companies have ample opportunities to actively showcase their participation in the Better Plants Program and Challenge and demonstrate their leadership in energy efficiency. Many partners are doing a particularly effective job publicizing their involvement. Here are five easy-to-implement ideas for communicating your partnership and successes with Better Plants:

  1. Leverage Corporate Webpages: Partners can prominently feature their program participation on their websites. Companies like Legrand and Volvo, for example, dedicate full pages online to the Better Plants Partnership. Legrand in particular does a thorough job of describing its work, using graphics to detail its commitment and progress as a Better Plants Challenge Partner, and linking to its profile page on the Department of Energy’s website.

    A screenshot of the infographic in Johnson Controls' 2013 Business and Sustainability Report.
  2. Highlight Efforts in Annual Reports: Some partners describe the value of their energy efforts in various stakeholder reports. For example, Johnson Controls gives the Better Plants Challenge partnership full-page treatment in its 2013 Business and Sustainability Report. The company lays out the level of its commitment and its progress so far in an infographic.

  3. Issue News Releases: Partners may choose to publicly share important Better Plants milestones in the form of press releases. Recent examples include General Motors announcing its program participation, ArcelorMittal highlighting training efforts, and Kingspan promoting its progress and achievement.

  4. Use Social Media: Social media platforms rule when it comes to promoting your business efforts. Companies can leverage popular sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, to connect with wider audiences and communicate their partnership with Better Plants. For example, when using Twitter to disseminate Better Plants news, partners can use the hashtag #BetterPlants to help build the brand and connect to earlier publicity. DOE's overarching Better Buildings Initiative has its own Twitter handle – as well as a YouTube channel – which often highlight Better Plants Program developments.

  5. Improve Branding: One of the many unique benefits of Better Plants participation is authorized use of the program name and logo for promotional purposes. Companies should use the latest logo usage guidelines to accurately and effectively publicize their program commitment. Partners can download a high-resolution logo copy from the eCenter and are encouraged to use both the Better Plants name and logo (and discontinue use of its predecessor program name, Save Energy Now LEADER). Doing so will raise awareness of the program and its reputation as a leading public partnership with industry leaders to improve energy efficiency in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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New Better Plants FAQs Posted Online

Newly updated FAQs relating to the Better Plants Program have been posted online. The new document features answers to the most common queries received by the Better Plants Team about the program, such as what happens when the 25% energy intensity reduction goal is met or not met? Existing Partners are encouraged to share the FAQs internally to help guide their understanding of their Better Plants partnership and the program’s relationship with other DOE initiatives. The document also serves as an informative resource for companies interested in learning about how to join the program. If you have any questions that you’d like answered that cannot be found in the FAQs, please contact us at

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Work with DOE to Finalize Your Energy Performance Data

The Better Plants Program is working with Partners to collect annual reports, complete with corporate-wide data on energy consumption and savings. This data is essential for the DOE to track progress, focus technical assistance where needed, and recognize those Partners that are on track towards meeting their goals. DOE takes care to protect confidential business information. Annual energy data is aggregated to develop program-wide metrics and to assess and share the program’s collective impact. Partners are encouraged to work with their Technical Account Managers to submit annual reports this month, or by an alternate due date established with the Department.

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Join the LEEP Campaign: Save Energy and Money on Parking Lot Lighting

A photo of parking spaces in the famous Chicago Marina City complex, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign offers awards, recognition, and support to encourage owners and managers of buildings, parking lots, and parking structures to take advantage of proven high-efficiency lighting technology. The Campaign was launched by the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Green Parking Council, and the International Facility Management Association, with technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Alliance. Participating building owners and managers agree to evaluate their portfolio to identify potential parking sites that can apply high-efficiency lighting technology, and to use high-efficiency lighting where feasible and cost-effective. These solutions may include the use of lighting controls and efficient equipment such as LEDs to realize significant energy and maintenance cost savings.

LEEP Campaign participants will have access to free tools and expertise to lower facility operating costs through the thoughtful design of new parking sites, or through lighting retrofits of existing sites. To become part of the campaign, submit the registration form here. Once registered, campaign members have unique access to the technical expertise of the Department of Energy, and may be recognized for their achievements. The program is open to Better Plants manufacturing partners, so join today at no cost and learn how you can start saving!

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Updated Energy and Carbon Footprints Released by AMO

A snapshot of AMO's onsite energy and carbon footprint of the entire U.S. manufacturing sector.

The Advanced Manufacturing Office's (AMO) Energy and Carbon Footprints have been updated with the latest energy consumption data from the Energy Information Administration's Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS). The footprints serve as streamlined visual and quantitative maps of energy use and losses and resultant carbon emissions for U.S. manufacturing as a whole and 15 individual manufacturing sectors (e.g. chemicals, machinery, and plastics), representing 94% of all U.S. manufacturing energy use. The footprints show a high-level view of both offsite and onsite primary energy, as well as a detailed look at how energy is distributed to onsite end uses like process heaters, process coolers, machine-driven equipment, facility heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting. In addition to utilizing 2010 MECS energy use data, the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) estimates conform to the Environmental Protection Agency's GHG mandatory reporting requirements, and losses are estimated based on published references and discussions with industry and process experts. The footprints are a very powerful tool for analysts, decision-makers, and other interested stakeholders to easily compare the distribution of energy use across sectors and identify areas of high consumption or losses that are ripe for improved efficiency.

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 Upcoming Events & Webinars

Save-the-Date: Better Buildings Summit, May 7th-9th (Washington, DC)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is holding a national Summit to catalyze investment in energy efficiency across the public, private, commercial, industrial, and multifamily sectors. All partners from the Better Buildings Initiative and other stakeholders are invited to participate. DOE looks forward to recognizing leaders, highlighting innovative market solutions and best practices, and detailing technical assistance resources.

Save the Date!
What: DOE Better Buildings Summit
When: May 7th-9th, 2014
Where: Washington D.C.
Who: Industry, government, and energy efficiency leaders and stakeholders

Review the Agenda At-A-Glance for a summary of the Better Buildings tracks and check out the DOE Better Buildings Summit event page regularly for updates.

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In-Plant Training Applications Now Open

The application period for the next round of 2014 In-Plant Training (INPLT) awards is now open! Better Plants is accepting applications between March 3 and April 11 for companies to host INPLTs at one of their facilities. As a reminder, INPLTs are an exclusive resource for Better Plants Program Partners which typically are attended by personnel from other facilities within the company, as well as from other Partner companies and relevant suppliers in the area. Attendees participate in energy assessments of common energy systems, such as steam and process heating, and learn how to identify, prioritize, implement, and replicate energy savings. INPLT applications should be prepared in collaboration with your Technical Account Manager and submitted to Sandy Glatt at between March 3 and April 11.

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Upcoming In-Plant Trainings: March 10th-12th and May 13th-15th

INPLT participation is open to Better Plants Program Partners pending the host plant’s approval. The following companies will be hosting INPLTs over the next several months:

  • March 10-12 (internal): United Technologies Company (Process Heating) – Pueblo, CO
  • May 13-15: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (Steam systems) – Tonawanda, NY
  • June: Harley Davidson – Menomonee Falls, WI
  • tbd: Ford Motor Co. (Compressed Air) – Avon Lake, OH
  • tbd: Tenaris, Conroe Plant – Houston, TX

For more information or to find out if your company can participate, please contact your Technical Account Manager or email Sandy Glatt at or call her at 720-356-1544.

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Goodyear In-Plant Pre-Training Webinar on Steam Systems: April 22nd

To prepare for the upcoming INPLT on steam systems at Goodyear's plant in Tonawanda, NY, DOE is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 9:30 am EST. The webinar will provide background information on the INPLT and an overview of commonly identified best practices, savings opportunities, and DOE energy software tools.

DOE energy expert Mr. Riyaz Papar will be giving a presentation on steam system best practices and provide a brief introduction to steam assessment tools. The webinar will cover topics such as:

  • DOE's In-Plant Training Process
  • Reducing Energy Costs in Steam Systems at Your Facility
  • Energy Assessment and Management Best Practices
  • DOE's Energy Assessment Software Tools

Interested parties can register online. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. View system requirements here.

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Better Plants Featured at EnergySMART 2014 (Philadelphia, March 27th-29th) and GLOBALCON 2014 (Atlantic City, April 9th-10th)

Better Buildings, Better Plants Program manager Andre de Fontaine will be moderating a panel of Better Plants Partners at two upcoming conferences: EnergySMART 2014 (Philadelphia, March 27th-29th), with representatives from Legrand, Mannington Mills, and TE Connectivity, and GLOBALCON 2014 (Atlantic City, April 9th-10th), with representatives from DSM North America, Harbec, and Spirax Sarco.

Both conferences will focus on innovative energy management programs and technologies. If you plan on attending, be sure to check out the panels and the Better Buildings Program's tabletop display at EnergySMART.

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The Better Buildings, Better Plants Program

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is a national partnership initiative that drives significant improvements in energy efficiency across U.S. industry. Through this program, manufacturers partner with DOE to improve their energy intensity usually by 25% over ten years, develop energy management plans, and track and report their annual progress. DOE helps these companies meet their goals by working with them to establish key energy performance metrics, evaluate energy-saving opportunities, and organize plant-level training events. As of February 2014, there were over 120 Better Plants Program Partners representing close to 1,800 manufacturing facilities across nearly all 50 states. Learn more about this national initiative at the Better Plants Program Web page.

We are always looking for new companies to join our program and especially appreciate referrals made by current Better Plants Partners. Companies interested in joining the program are encouraged to contact us at

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