Energy Star National Building Competition Kicks Off
The EPA’s Energy Star program on July 25 launched the 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings with a record 3,200 buildings across the country going head to head to improve energy efficiency, lower utility costs, and protect the environment. U.S. commercial buildings are responsible for about 20% of the nation’s energy use at a cost of more than $100 billion annually in energy bills. In 2011, the 245 participants in the Energy Star competition saved $5.2 million on their utility bills and prevented nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 3,600 homes a year.
More than 30 different types of commercial buildings are facing off, and they represent all 50 states, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The competitors range from a Kmart store on the island of St. Thomas to a federal office building in Nome, Alaska. The number of participants in the National Building Competition has jumped from 14 buildings in 2010, the competition’s first year, to 245 in 2011, to more than 3,200 this year. Competitors use the Energy Star online tool, Portfolio Manager, to measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption. Last year, the University of Central Florida won after cutting the energy use of an on-campus parking garage by more than 63% in just 12 months’ time. During the competition period, the public can track the progress made by participating buildings on the Web. See the EPA press release and the Energy Star National Building Competition website for more information.