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Better Buildings Case Competition

Maria Vargas, Director of the Better Buildings Initiative, speaks to a crowded room of students and industry professionals at the 2014 Better Buildings Case Competition

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(1st picture): A crowd of students and judges engage in an "Emerging Policies" panel discussion at the 2013 BBCC. (2nd picture): 2012 BBCC winners from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology meet with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. (3rd picture): 2013 BBCC judges, Tari Emerson, Kohl's Department Store; Bob Valair, Staples; and Pat Maher, Burton Energy Group, converse with students.

Judges from the 2014 BBCC Case: A Side of Savings. From left to right: Holly Jamesen Carr - Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office; Roy Buchert - Worldwide Energy Director, McDonald's Corp; David A. McDonald – Executive Vice President, Lend Lease; John Herth - Senior Director of Global Design and Construction Services, Dunkin' Brands; Adam Jarboe – Associate Manager of Global Engineering & Sustainability, YUM! Brands; Rich Shandross – Associate Director of Energy, Navigant Consulting; Jeff Clark - Conserve Program Director; National Restaurant Association

Dr. Dave Danielson, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy, keynotes the awards ceremony at the 2014 Better Buildings Case Competition

Judges from the 2014 BBCC Case: Picking up PACE with Assistant Secretary Dave Danielson. From left to right: Richard Chien - City and County of San Francisco, Department of the Environment; Robert Fischman - Director of Commercial Programs, Energize New York; Gavin Dillingham, PhD - Research Scientist, Clean Energy Policy HARC; Kristina Klimovich - Director, Communications and Market Research, PACENow; Dave Danielson – Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy; Patrick Finch - Director, Client Delivery And Partner Relations, Waypoint Building Group; Genevieve Sherman - Senior Manager, Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority; Dave Good - Government of the District of Columbia, District Department of the Environment; David Gabrielson – Executive Director, PACENow

Better Buildings Case Competition

BBCC is taking a gap year! After three successful competitions, in which 60 case partners and more than 350 students created more than 100 innovative solutions, we’re taking this year off to plan for the future. We are thinking about the best way to structure the competition and how to measure its impact going forward. If you have feedback or success stories for us, please contact Otherwise we’ll see you in 2016!

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) annual Better Buildings Case Competition (BBCC) engages the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and policymakers to develop creative solutions to real-world energy efficiency barriers for businesses and other organizations across the marketplace. Through the Competition, interdisciplinary teams of university students gain critical skills and experience to start careers in clean energy. Since its launch in 2012, the BBCC has supported the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative goal to reduce energy consumption by at least 20% in the next decade in commercial and industrial buildings across the U.S.

The BBCC focuses on issues affecting energy efficiency in buildings including complex challenges across multiple industries, such as data access, tenant engagement, equipment replacement, program implementation, business models and more. High profile case partners and the Department of Energy describe real-world energy efficiency issues in the form of “cases,” which are then distributed to teams of graduate and undergraduate students. Interdisciplinary teams, from US institutes of higher education, have roughly three months to formulate solutions based on their own research and resources provided by case partners. The Competition culminates in an all-day workshop in Washington, DC where student teams present their solutions to expert judging panels. The event serves as a high-profile platform where students can showcase their most creative ideas and solutions, receive feedback from the judges, and interact directly with industry and government leaders. The workshop also provides a neutral forum for stakeholders to discuss best practices and become better acquainted.

Since its inception, the annual BBCC has produced over 100 solutions for an audience of over 60 industry organizations and government agencies. Over the past three years, the competition has grown as an industry-recognized forum for innovative problem solving around energy efficiency and has attracted some of the brightest new minds in the energy industry.

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The 2016 BBCC Registration will open Fall of 2015. Please enter your email below to be notified of this, and other important BBCC updates.