The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Demarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, New Jersey has won the 2012 EPA Energy Star National Building Competition, “Battle of the Buildings,” after reducing its energy use by a whopping 52%. Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. At a ceremony at the school today, EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck recognized the school’s principal, Mary Todaro, other school district officials, teachers and students for their achievement. The Battle of the Buildings competition features teams from across the country working to improve energy efficiency, lower utility costs and protect health and the environment. More than 3,000 buildings participated in the 2012 competition.
“The Demarest Elementary School and the Bloomfield School District found a way to improve the environment and save money at the same time,” said Regional Administrator Enck. “The school took simple steps to significantly reduce energy use. School districts and, in fact, facilities of any kind should look to Bloomfield as a model of what they can achieve. Our children have been well served by this wonderful achievement.”
Demarest Elementary School reduced its energy use through a combination of simple and inexpensive energy efficiency strategies:
- The school identified and addressed a number of mechanical issues that had been overlooked for many years, including replacing a timer associated with the heating system, which allowed it to run on a more energy efficient schedule.
- The head custodian aggressively adjusted boiler operation based on outside temperatures and changes in weather, and adjusted the hall lighting schedule so that lights were dimmed in the early morning and after students were dismissed.
The staff also took control of energy management in their immediate areas by turning off and unplugging electronic devices, such as vending machines, when they were not needed.
Demarest Elementary School won the competition by demonstrating the largest percent-reduction in energy use, adjusted for weather and the size of the building. Overall, the school saved nearly 4.6 million kBTUs (a thousand British thermal units) of energy last year and saved nearly $76,000.
In addition to the Demarest Elementary School, other buildings within the Bloomfield School District made impressive strides in cutting energy use during the 2012 competition. Bloomfield Middle School reduced its energy use by more than 34%, finishing in 10th place over all. Five other buildings— Fairview Elementary School, Watsessing Elementary School, Brookdale Elementary School, Oak View Elementary School and Forest Glens Alternative School— also finished within the top 50 energy-reducing buildings across the nation.
The 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition measured energy performance over the entire 2012 calendar year. Competitors tracked their building's monthly energy consumption using the EPA's online energy tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The energy reductions for each top finisher were verified by an independently licensed professional engineer or registered architect at the conclusion of the competition. Participants in this year’s competition saved a combined total of more than three billion kBTUs of energy and $50 million in utility costs. Competitors reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity used by more than 43,000 homes.
Thousands of businesses and organizations work with EPA’s Energy Star program and are saving billions of dollars and preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.
More information on the 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition, including top overall finishers and top finishers by building category, an interactive map of competitors, and a wrap-up report: http://www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings