WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring the first national energy efficiency contest of its kind, featuring 14 commercial buildings from across the country. While trimming kilowatt hours off is their bottom line, they’ll also save money and help fight climate change. The building that sheds the most energy waste on a percentage basis will be declared the winner at EPA’s final weigh-in on Oct. 26, 2010.
“It’s time for buildings to tighten their belts and we’re happy to help them go on an energy diet,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for air and radiation. “Cutting energy use will reduce their monthly expenses and their carbon footprint, showing that environmental protection and economic growth can go hand in hand.”
Nearly 200 applications were received for EPA’s National Building Competition and the 14 finalists will be judged on their energy performance from Sept. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2010. The energy use of each building is being monitored with EPA’s Energy Star online energy measurement and tracking tool, Portfolio Manager. Television personality Bob Harper will also provide energy fitness tips for the contestants through a series of videos that will be available on the Web site.
EPA’s National Building Competition contestants are:
§ 522 Fifth Avenue Building, New York, N.Y.
§ 1525 Wilson Boulevard Building, Arlington, Va.
§ Crystal River Elementary School, Carbondale, Colo.
§ Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown, San Diego, Calif.
§ JCPenney Store 1778, Orange, Calif.
§ Maplewood Mall, St. Paul, Minn.
§ Memorial Arts Building at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Ga.
§ Morrison Residence Hall at UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C.
§ Sears, Glen Burnie, Md.
§ Sheraton Austin Hotel, Austin, Texas
§ Solon Family Health Center at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
§ Tucker Residence Hall at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.
§ Van Holten Primary School, Bridgewater, N.J.
§ Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia Beach, Va.
The competition Web site will provide profiles of each contestant and chronicle their progress as well as feature advice for contestants from EPA and leading building efficiency specialists. Each building will also participate in mid-point and final contest weigh-ins and the results will be posted online at the competition Web site.
Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. On average, 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. Thousands of businesses and organizations work with the EPA’s Energy Star program and are saving billions of dollars and preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering our atmosphere each year.