Retrofit Tool Enables Big Energy Cost Savings for New England Nonprofits

February 13, 2024

Existing buildings often contain a host of opportunities for energy savings, but identifying the most promising ones can be costly and time-consuming. A tool developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy Buildings Technology Office (BTO) by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Johnson Controls is helping PowerOptions, a nonprofit energy consortium in Massachusetts, to find $2.5 million in potential annual energy cost savings by pinpointing the most effective upgrades.

Reducing carbon emissions from buildings, which account for about a third of the U.S. total, is a key step in the U.S. goal to reach net-zero carbon by 2050. The BTO’s Building Efficiency Targeting Tool for Energy Retrofits (BETTER) offers building owners and operators a way to see which energy conservation measures will deliver the most impact. BETTER is publicly available online and free. Users can consult the tool to evaluate energy conservation measures without expensive on-site audits.

Since January 2023, PowerOptions has used BETTER to conduct virtual energy efficiency audits for over 50 buildings from eight nonprofit organizations. In addition to the $2.5 million in energy cost savings, the roadmaps that BETTER identified could help the group avoid emissions equivalent to 6,560 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

“BETTER is an intuitive, easy-to-use tool with a very responsive and helpful support staff,” said Erin Camp, energy sustainability and analytics program manager for PowerOptions.  “For the building use types available in the tool, we have found the results to be about 90% accurate.”

PowerOptions plans to continue using BETTER to guide its nonprofit members’ building decarbonization roadmaps, and it plans a secondary pilot of the tool with multifamily buildings.
To learn more about BETTER, visit