Hospitality company Hilton Worldwide and grocery-store chain Whole Foods Market recently traded energy-management teams at their facilities in San Francisco as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) inaugural Better Buildings Challenge SWAP.

“Healthy competition, along with a free exchange of ideas, has long been an essential part of energy innovation,” Lynn Orr, DOE undersecretary for science and energy, said. “Such an exchange created by the Energy Department provided a way for these leading corporations, which are already accomplished in energy management, to rethink some of their standard practices and push each other to do even better. A fresh set of knowledgeable eyes would likely help us all to be more efficient. That approach will help us address our world's most pressing energy challenges.”

As part of the SWAP, the teams identified innovative ways to save energy in Hilton San Francisco Union Square, a 1.8-million-sq-ft hotel, and Whole Foods Ocean Avenue, a 25,600-sq-ft supermarket.

“While it’s easy to think you’ve covered all the bases in your own facility, there is so much more to gain when you compare strategies and lessons learned with a team from a completely different line of work,” Tristam Coffin, sustainable-facilities coordinator for Whole Foods Market, said. “Sharing best practices doesn’t get more hands-on than this.”

During the SWAP, the Hilton Worldwide team identified lighting fixes, refrigeration savings through doors on cases, and heat-recovery improvements that could net positive energy savings at the Whole Foods Ocean Avenue store. The Whole Foods team, meanwhile, recommended LED-lighting upgrades, door-gasket replacements, and the phaseout of less efficient appliances within refrigerated containers at Hilton Union Square.

A reality-style Web series featuring both teams is available at