BOSTON -- More than 150 buildings across New England have entered the 2014 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings: Team Challenge. The competition specifically targets wasted energy in commercial buildings, and will motivate businesses to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon pollution, and save money.
“The competitive spirit is alive and well among the New England building teams trying to improve their energy efficiency in this year’s Battle of the Buildings,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “After four successful years, we’re excited to see what innovative ideas will emerge from the competitors as they continue to find new ways to save energy, save money, and protect the environment.”
In the only coast-to-coast competition of its kind, more than 5,500 buildings nationwide are going head-to-head to reduce their energy use. This year’s theme, Team Challenge, features teams of five or more buildings who will work together to reduce their collective energy use over the course of a year. For example, Team Staples includes 17 Staples stores and Team Whole Foods Market includes 15 Whole Foods stores.
Competitors will measure and track their building's monthly energy consumption using EPA's Energy Star online energy measurement and tracking tool, Portfolio Manager. Over the course of the competition, building teams will work to optimize or upgrade equipment, retrofit lighting, and change occupants’ behaviors – all with help from Energy Star. The team reducing its buildings’ average energy use the most, on a percentage basis, over a 12-month performance period, will be declared the winner. Seven hundred buildings, including 37 from New England, are also competing in a special water reduction category, and will work with EPA’s WaterSense program to apply best practices for commercial building water management. EPA will maintain a website devoted to the competition, featuring a listing of competitors and their starting, midpoint, and final standings, a live Twitter feed where competitors will post updates on their progress, and an interactive map of the competitors’ locations. Midpoint results will be posted in October. The winner will be announced in April 2015.
This year marks the fifth year EPA is hosting the Battle of the Buildings. The competition—and positive environmental impacts—have grown exponentially since that time. Last year’s competitors saved a combined total of more than 900 million kBtus of energy and an estimated $20 million on utility bills. Nearly 50 buildings in the competition demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater.
Commercial buildings in the United States are responsible for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion annually. By improving the energy efficiency of the places we work, play, and learn, the competitors will save energy and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. President Obama’s Climate Action Plan calls for businesses to cut in half the amount of energy they waste over the next 20 years.
Products, homes and buildings that earn the Energy Star label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by EPA. From the first Energy Star qualified computer in 1992, the label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold over the past 20 years. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 buildings have earned the Energy Star label.
New England Battle of the Building competitors by state include:
Connecticut: 63 buildings in the competition, including 29 courthouses
Maine: 18 buildings including 16 owned by the Government Services Administration, (GSA)
Massachusetts: 43 buildings including a team of 6 buildings from Hanscom AFB
New Hampshire: 6 buildings
Rhode Island: 4 buildings
Vermont: 17 buildings, all owned by GSA
Current Battle of the Buildings competition: http://www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings
2013 Battle of the Buildings Wrap up http://www.energystar.gov/buildings/tools-and-resources/energy-star-national-building-competition-2013-wrap-report-trends-best-practices