Better Buildings Federal Award 2013 Guidelines for Entering

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A list of frequently asked questions contains answers to a variety of Better Buildings Federal Award queries.

The Better Buildings Federal Award recognizes the Federal Government's highest-performing buildings through a competition to reduce annual energy intensity (Btu per square foot of facility space) on a year-over-year basis. The winner is the Federal building that reduces its energy intensity the most as compared to the previous year.

Selecting Applicants

Agencies should consider nominating a building based on how well it expects the building to perform in 2013 as compared to 2012, taking into account a wide range of innovative or comprehensive energy management practices being undertaken by the building, including energy-saving projects and technologies as well as educational and outreach activities that encourage behavior change. Per the attached application, the evaluation of each nomination will consider the following:

  • Steps taken to improve the nominated building's energy performance, in terms of improvements to the facility, design of the facility, equipment purchases and upgrades, or building management systems,
  • Programs initiated at the building that encourage building occupants to become involved in improving the performance of building,
  • Best practices in energy management employed at the building,
  • Adoption of innovative ways to save energy by building staff or occupants, which may include innovative use of social media to encourage greater occupant involvement.

Data Entry and Tracking

In addition to the completed application, each nominated building must use EPA's Portfolio Manager to track energy performance data. Any Federal building is eligible; the building does not need to be scored in Portfolio Manager to enter or win this competition.

The nominated building must have a complete data set including total facility Btu from all sources of power and total facility square footage for all months of the current year (2012), as available prior to submitting the entry. Finalists must continue to enter utility data into Portfolio Manager for the remainder of 2012 and each month of 2013.

Agencies are required to share their Portfolio Manager building data upon submission of their application so that DOE can verify a full set of data. To share your data from Portfolio Manager, follow these steps:

  1. From your My Portfolio page, select the facility you would like to share.

  2. On the facility page, find and select "Add User to share this facility."

  3. Find the Better Buildings Federal Award's Master Account, titled "Better Buildings Federal Award – DOE_FEMP"

  4. For nominations, it is only necessary to provide Read Only access.

  5. Save your selections to share the building.

If you are not already using Portfolio Manager, please go to to learn how to enter the data for your buildings into Portfolio Manager.

Competition and Winner Selection

Based on the information provided in the applications, DOE will select the finalists. Finalists will compete head to head in the final stage to determine which building will decrease its percentage energy consumption by the greatest percentage by the end of the competition, based on the utility data entered into Portfolio Manager each month. FEMP will track monthly building energy intensity savings and post it on a public competition website. FEMP may additionally require verification of energy data entered into Portfolio Manager, which may include duplicate utility bills, viewable access to online account information, or other means as agreed upon by the agency. If you are selected as a finalist, FEMP will contact you for details.

The winner of the competition will be decided by the greatest reduction in year-over-year energy intensity. The final results are based on the percentage of each building's own reduction in energy intensity from the prior year.

Application Instructions

  1. Please fill out all sections of the application form for each nomination.

  2. In addition to the application form, please submit at least one high-resolution photograph of the nominated facility.

  3. Nominations must be returned to your agency coordinator, who will be responsible for vetting and verifying claims made in the nominations as well as for reviewing and approving each application. FEMP has extended the nomination submission period to September 21, 2012. Nominations must be approved and submitted to FEMP by the agency coordinator for consideration on or before this date. Your agency may have an earlier internal deadline or other guidance. Please contact your agency coordinator in advance to confirm. Agency coordinators are listed at:

  4. Each agency coordinator may submit a maximum of five nominations.

Each complete application should be sent by email to: Nominations will be reviewed and Portfolio Manager data will be verified.

2012 - 2013 Timeline
July 17, 2012 Call for nominations
Sept. 21, 2012 Nominations due (Agency Coordinators may submit up to five nominations.
Nov. 14, 2012 DOE will select and announce finalists
Nov. 14, 2012 2013 competition begins
Aug. 31, 2013 2013 competition ends
Sept. 30, 2013 Winner selected and announced

For more information, contact Jennifer McCain at or 202-586-1573.