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Rebuild America, U.S. DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy offered the Rebuild America program as a network of hundreds of community-based partnerships across the nation that saved energy, improved building performance, easing air pollution through reduced energy demand and enhanced the quality of life through energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 1994, Rebuild America serves as a mechanism for revitalization and job creation in many U.S. communities. The program closed after 2005.

The Nebraska Energy Office was awarded the following State Energy Program – Special Projects grants under the Rebuild America category:

  • Rebuild Nebraska Partners Identify and Implement High Performance Building Strategies (2005, $100,000)
  • High Performance and ENERGY STAR® Buildings (2002, $125,000)
  • Rebuild Nebraska (2000, $189,751)
  • Rebuild Otoe County (1999, $100,000)
  • Rebuild Nebraska (1997, $100,000)
  • Rebuild Nebraska (1996, $250,000)

The Nebraska Energy Office offered Rebuild Nebraska financing through the Dollar and Energy Savings Loan Program throughout the course of the first four Rebuild America grants received in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2000. Any commercial or multi-family building owner, signed as a Rebuild Nebraska voluntary partner, could borrow a maximum of $150,000 for eligible energy conservation measures. Several building owners took advantage of this financing opportunity as a total of 20 projects were financed through December 31, 2004. The total cost of all eligible energy conservation improvements was more than $1.9 million.

Rebuild Nebraska Partners Identify and Implement High Performance Building Strategies (2005) $100,000
The Energy Office received a $100,000 Rebuild America grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in October of 2005 to continue Rebuild Nebraska work and boost the implementation of Continuous Commissioning technologies in commercial buildings, university buildings, K-12 schools and state and local government buildings. A total of 51 building owners were recruited to participate in this project and 37 buildings were evaluated. Dedicated energy meters were installed on 15 candidate buildings and continuous commissioning technologies were implemented in a total of 26 buildings. The project was completed September 30, 2007.

High Performance and ENERGY STAR® Buildings (2002) $125,000
The grant funded the project entitled Rebuild America/Nebraska: Create and Identify High Performance and ENERGY STAR® Buildings in the State of Nebraska through Rebuild America. The Energy Systems Laboratory at the University of Nebraska and Omaha Public Power District conducted detailed energy evaluations in 36 commercial buildings. More than 10.6 million ft2 were evaluated. Building owners invested $14.3 million to make energy improvements. Total potential cost savings are estimated at $3.2 million per year.

The project partners also demonstrated the Continuous Commissioning Leading Retrofit ProcessSM in 14 buildings, which have a total floor area of 3.7 million ft2. Building owners contributed $1.6 million. The annualized energy cost savings are $558,700 per year.

Create and Identify High Performance and Energy Star® Buildings in the State of Nebraska through Rebuild America Program PDF summarizes the project which was completed August 2004.
Rebuild Nebraska (2000) $189,751
This Rebuild Nebraska project enabled Nebraska Public Power District and NMPP Energy, as “Rebuild Nebraska Champions” to expand program services in eight additional communities. Each utility marketed the program, obtained voluntary Rebuild Nebraska partnership agreement in targeted communities, conducted energy audits, developed energy audit reports and delivered the audit reports to each commercial or multi-family building owner.

Nebraska Public Power District audited 1,160,377 square feet of building space. This utility served 90 building owners in the six communities of McCook, South Sioux City North Platte, Sheridan County, Auburn and Schuyler, Nebraska. NMPP Energy audited 173,125 square feet of building space. This utility served 29 building owners in its two member communities of Crete and Fairbury, Nebraska. The project was completed June 2002.

Rebuild Otoe County (1999) $100,000
The Rebuild Otoe County project provided for a localized effort to help owners of historically significant commercial and multi-family buildings make their buildings more energy efficient without compromising architectural integrity. Rebuild Nebraska partners included the River Country Economic Development Corporation and NMPP Energy.

Under the Rebuild Otoe County project, 39 local Rebuild partners were recruited by the River Country Economic Development Corporation, and 37 buildings totaling nearly 270,000 square feet were audited by NMPP Energy staff. Reports outlining recommended improvements and ways to finance the improvements were also provided to the owners.

One of the concluding activities was the creation and publication of Energy Efficiency and Historic Preservation: A Planning Guide for Buildings PDF. The guide was developed for individuals interested in increasing energy efficiency while maintaining the historical integrity of the building. The guide gives a broad view of steps to take when planning and implementing energy efficiency projects in historic buildings. It discusses the importance of the “Whole Building Approach” which entails taking a current building inventory, determining project goals and developing a plan for the building. In order to increase the energy efficiency of a building and maintain its historic character, trade-offs may be necessary.

Rebuild Otoe County was selected as an “Environmental Projects and Awareness” winner in the Nebraska Community Improvement Program’s statewide competition for towns larger than 3,500. The project was completed in June 2001.
Rebuild Nebraska (1997) $100,000
This Rebuild Nebraska project provided the Nebraska Energy Office the opportunity to expand the program started in 1996, develop a community-based approach, train auditors and enable utilities to provide technical services directly to their customers. This grant served to make possible the transition from the Energy Office providing direct audit services to working with the utility partnerships to deliver the services. Utility staff identified specific communities and targeted building owners according to interest and need.

A total of 36 individuals participated in Certified Energy Manager training which was organized and offered as a result of this project.

The Energy Office worked with the Nebraska Public Power District and NMPP Energy, which served as “Rebuild champions,” which knew their customer base and identified four communities and 15 customers within each community for Rebuild Nebraska services. Nebraska Public Power District targeted Fillmore County and the Cities of Ogallala, Wayne, Nebraska. NMPP Energy targeted the city of Alliance, Nebraska.

Utility staff completed 60 building audits and delivered the audit reports to the building owners. Building area audited totaled 891,062 square feet. The project was completed in June 2000.
Rebuild Nebraska (1996) $250,000
The Nebraska Energy Office organized a consortium of partners to plan and deliver the new Rebuild Nebraska program was created to increase the use of energy efficiency technologies in existing commercial buildings and multi-family residential housing.

This three-year project involved Energy Office technical staff marketing the program, signing building owners as voluntary program partners, conducting audits and providing energy audit reports to building owners. Nine University of Nebraska study interns were trained who assisted with the building energy audits under the supervisions of the agency’s architect and professional mechanical engineer. The students were either juniors or seniors majoring in architecture, engineer and construction management.

Over the three years, a total of A total of 147 Rebuild Nebraska partnership agreements were signed, which included 13 marketing partners and 134 building partners. The Energy Office’s technical team completed energy audits on more than 4.56 million square feet of building space throughout the state. When each building audit was completed, the builder owner received an Energy Audit Report. A customized listing of financing options appropriate for the building owner, to make the energy efficiency improvements of their choice, was also provided along with Financing Your Energy Improvement. This financing information document was developed in 1998 by Energy Office staff as part of this project. A second edition 40 Ways to Finance Your Improvements, an expanded version then followed in 1999. The project was completed in June 1999.
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