Fourteen Buildings Compete to "Work Off the Waste"
As you may have read in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. EPA launched the National Building Competition last month, the first national energy-efficiency contest of its kind. Featuring a variety of commercial buildings from across the country, contestants are competing to save energy and fight climate change by "working off the waste" through improvements in energy efficiency. The building that sheds the most energy waste on a percentage basis will be declared the winner by EPA on Oct. 26.
Nearly 200 buildings applied to compete in the contest. EPA selected 14 buildings, including schools, hotels, dormitories, stores, offices, museums and other buildings we see in our communities every day. The buildings were chosen to represent ENERGY STAR partners in a variety of markets across the country and a wide range of building sizes, ages and space types.
The following buildings’ monthly energy use is being measured using EPA’s online energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager:
522 Fifth Ave. building, New York
1525 Wilson Blvd. building, Arlington, Va.
Crystal River Elementary School, Carbondale, Colo.
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown, San Diego
JCPenney Store 1778, Orange, Calif.
Maplewood Mall, St. Paul, Minn.
Memorial Arts Building at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta
Morrison Residence Hall at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Sears, Glen Burnie, Md.
Sheraton Austin Hotel, Austin, Texas
Solon Family Health Center at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland
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 Buildings’ Workout Routines
The 14 contestants already are well underway with their "slim downs." Using ENERGY STAR best practices and guidelines, building managers are looking for ways to reduce energy use from simple behavior changes to cost-effective technology upgrades.
What are some of the go-to strategies these contestants are using to save energy? Students—from elementary school to college—are making sure lights are turned out in their classes and campus dorms when no one is using them. Sears is weather stripping around doors and windows to prevent heat gain and loss. JCPenney is retrofitting lighting to energy-efficient LEDs and installing window tinting on south-facing windows and doors. 522 Fifth Ave., a more than 100-year-old mid-town Manhattan office building, is coordinating with cleaning staff to turn off lights earlier and has installed variable frequency drives on its fans to save energy.
At UNC Chapel Hill’s Morrison Hall student dorm, all eyes are on one resident advisor who will have the daunting task of ensuring that the dorm’s summer guests—high-school students who stay for a week at a time while participating in on-campus programs—use energy-efficient behaviors during their brief stays. Down the road at NC State’s Tucker Hall, students are creating and posting energy awareness videos on YouTube. There are additional videos on Tucker Hall’s Twitter page.
At the Virginia Beach Convention Center, staff members strive to provide a world-class meeting space with a low carbon footprint. Since the competition began, they’ve designed and installed custom covers for refrigerated drink cases, keeping cold air in and energy bills low.
The employees of the Cleveland Clinic’s Solon Family Health Center are getting in on the weight-loss-themed energy competition and have committed to use the stairs instead of elevators. They’re getting important exercise and cutting energy use. After only one week, the employees walked up nearly 12,000 steps, which almost is the height of Mt. Fuji. Their efforts, combined with good operations and improvements by the facilities team, are helping to keep the health center in fighting shape.
Visit the National Building Competition Web site to find out other ways the contestants are saving energy, as well as view photos and profiles, get tips for making your own facility more efficient and read “Advice from the Experts” blog posts. Be sure to check out the live Twitter feed or read through all past tweets at www.twitter.com/EnergyStarBldgs/Contestants. Television personality Bob Harper will also provide energy fitness tips for the contestants through a series of videos that will be available on the contest Web site.
Once you've picked your favorite contestants, look for the results of the first weigh-in on July 21!
Lauren Pitcher is a communications specialist in the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Buildings Program.