PORTLAND, Ore. - The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance announced that it will spend $18.6 million over the next three years to promote energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The Commercial Sector Initiative, better known as BetterBricks, is expected to cut energy demand in the Northwest by 31 megawatts by 2015.

The initiative will work with building owners and managers to encourage them to ask for energy-efficient, high-performance building practices in their new and existing buildings. Building types to be targeted under the effort include hospitals and other health care facilities, grocery stores, and commercial real estate such as office buildings.

The program will also work with existing building service providers, such as mechanical contractors and control companies, to encourage a greater focus on operating performance in their service offerings.

"Long-term we're working to affect both the demand and the supply," said Skip Schick, senior manager at the Alliance for the initiative. "We want owners to make energy efficiency an integral part of business decision-making when they build new buildings or maintain existing ones. We also want to help those that design, construct, and operate these buildings to be able to deliver efficiency," he said.

The initiative will partner with local utilities, public benefits administrators, and relevant trade associations to develop and present the business case for energy-management business practices. The effort also will provide technical information, tools, and training needed to support high performance building and operations.

Publication date: 08/29/2005