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Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Partner with the DOE on the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP

February 19, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP, where Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market swapped energy management teams at their facilities in San Francisco.

As part of the SWAP, each team identified ways to save energy at the 1.8-million-square-foot Hilton San Francisco Union Square, and Whole Foods Ocean Avenue, a 25,600-square-foot grocery store. 

“Healthy competition, along with a free exchange of ideas, has long been an essential part of energy innovation,” says Lynn Orr, under secretary for science and energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. “Such an exchange created by the Energy Department provided a way for these leading corporations—which are already accomplished in energy management—to rethink some of their standard practices and push each other to do even better.”

As a result of the SWAP, the Hilton Worldwide team has already started implementing several recommendations at Hilton Union Square, including LED lighting upgrades, door gasket replacements, and the phase-out of less efficient appliances within refrigerated containers. The Whole Foods team is also exploring the implementation of employee engagement strategies inspired by what they saw at Hilton Union Square.

Overall, both Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods have made significant improvements to their properties to meet the overall objective of the Better Buildings Challenge, which is to help companies reduce energy intensity across their building portfolios. Hilton recently became the first hospitality company to have hotels, including Hilton San Francisco Union Square, certified to the DOE’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP). And Whole Foods has achieved 7 percent energy savings towards a 20 percent goal in its portfolio of 370 buildings.

Overall, the Better Buildings Challenge aims to double American energy productivity by 2030. More than 285 organizations are partnering with the DOE to achieve 20 percent portfolio-wide energy savings, and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. To date, partners have shared energy data for more than 32,000 properties, and are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 4,500 properties, and 10 percent or more at 12,000 properties.

A web series documenting the challenge is now available online.