2014 Working Groups

Sustainable Buildings

Creating Healthier Products, Technologies, and Communities

This Working Group will explore how partnerships can stimulate innovative “green” projects with sustainable design, energy and resource efficiency, and new building materials across various building types.


Resilient Buildings and Neighborhoods Establishing resilient neighborhoods creates a support network for communities to organize toward a more sustainable, low-carbon future. Participants will examine community-scale development initiatives that prepare communities to recover from the inevitable stresses and interruptions from climate change and other natural phenomena.

Healthy Buildings Protecting occupant health can be facilitated through sustainable, transparent sourcing of interior materials. Participants will examine strategies for occupant “wellness” in various building types that support human health while broadening the understanding of diverse occupant needs.

Advanced Technologies and Performance Optimization High-performance, sustainable buildings achieve their maximum value through integrated systems, utilizing innovative “smart” technologies that support better resource operation. Participants will examine optimum performance through advanced technologies and designs for multiple building types.

Financing and Valuation New, cutting-edge transactions and valuations in building systems will seek to explore best-practice integration of innovative, comprehensive investments. Participants will examine new approaches to scale existing financing programs.

Innovative Commitments

Better Buildings Challenge
Commitment by: The Obama Administration; U.S. Department of Energy
In 2011, The Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy committed to establish a network of cross-sector building owners and other partners to make a public commitment to reduce energy consumption in their large portfolio of buildings, undertake a signature project, support the energy efficiency marketplace, and transparently share performance results. Since the announcement of nearly $4 billion and 1.6 billion square feet of Better Buildings Challenge commitments in December 2011, participating financial organizations have invested almost $400 million in energy efficiency upgrades and nearly 40 partners have announced their showcase projects.

Driving Demand for Energy Efficiency Through Employers
Commitment by: Michigan Saves
In 2013, Michigan Saves committed to develop an outreach program at two large employer organizations to drive demand for home energy efficiency improvements. The model will use pre-existing credible messengers and the internal marketing resources of employers to offer whole-home energy assessments at a reduced fee and affordable loans to employees, both as a benefit and as part of the organization’s overall corporate sustainability efforts. Within the first six months of operations, over 350 homeowners have taken advantage of the reduced fee for whole home energy assessments.

Designing Recovery: Envision the Future by Building it Now
Commitment by: St. Bernard Project
In 2012, St. Bernard Project (SBP) committed to create an open-source house design competition that focuses on three communities still recovering from disaster: Joplin, Missouri; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Queens, New York. An expert panel judges submissions based on a holistic set of criteria, including: speed of implementation, cost of supplies, energy efficiency, volunteer friendliness, resiliency (built to withstand future disasters), and replicability. Since the announcement of the commitment, one competition has been held and prizes were awarded to a winning design for each location, which were also featured in Architect Magazine.