Name of Conference: Better Buildings: Better Business Conference
Host Organization: Energy Center of Wisconsin
Dates: March, 2005
Location: Wisconsin Dells, WI
The annual Better Buildings: Better Business Conference seeks to make midwestern United States homes more energy-efficient by delivering hands-on training workshops, technology demonstrations, and building science education to homebuilders and contractors. The Energy Center of Wisconsin conducted a Return on Investment (ROI) study on its 2005 conference—not only to demonstrate the financial return to sponsors and exhibitors, but to determine whether the annual program led to behavior change and improved energy savings.
How Did It Change the World?
To complete the ROI study, the Energy Center interviewed attendees representing 34 of the 50 Wisconsin-based homebuilding firms that participated in the conference. Of the 34, 24 (71%) reported specific energy-saving changes in the way they built new homes. Spread across the entire participant group, and factoring in the number of homes each company built per year, the Energy Center calculated total heat and electricity savings worth US$400,000 to $2 million per year, against a total conference cost of about US$380,000.
Why Did It Matter?
The small changes that builders and contractors made to their construction practices added up to big energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions, and delayed the construction of new power plants. The business and green building skills attendees developed at the conference gave them a competitive edge in generating new projects and creating jobs. Since the builders will implement their new behaviors on every home they touch for the rest of their careers, the impact will continue to add up for many years.