Maria Tikoff Vargas


Better Buildings Challenge, U.S. Department of Energy

Maria Vargas, Director of the Better Buildings Initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy, will discuss how leaders across the country are realizing the energy savings potential of their buildings. For example, through the Better Buildings Challenge, more than 350 organizations – companies, universities, and state and local governments – have set a public goal to reduce their building energy use by at least 20 percent over a ten year period and are sharing their technological and organizational strategies with others. Based on partnerships with these organizations, Ms. Vargas will offer her insights on the shared – and sometimes surprising – features of organizations that are delivering high-impact energy efficiency solutions and key opportunities for scaling up our collective actions.

Maria Tikoff Vargas is a Senior Program Advisor and the Director of the Better Buildings Initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The goal of Better Buildings is to make American buildings, plants and housing 20 percent more efficient in the next decade. Through this leadership challenge, DOE works with state and local leaders, chief executive officers, and university presidents who have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio and providing their energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow. Previously, Ms. Vargas worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) starting in 1986. There she worked on issues of ozone depletion and climate change. She was also the brand manager and marketing Director for the ENERGY STAR program for more than 15 years, promoting the benefits of energy efficiency to businesses and consumers. In 2014, she was inducted into the Energy Efficiency Forum Hall of Fame.