WASHINGTON — This wee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched the 2015 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings. Nationwide, more than 6,500 buildings and 125 teams are competing to reduce their energy and water use. In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for businesses to cut waste and become 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020, the competition targets wasted energy in commercial buildings and motivates organizations to improve energy efficiency, reduce harmful carbon pollution and save money.
“I’m excited to announce the start of the 2015 Battle of the Buildings competition and although we will only announce one first place team, all of our competitors are winners because they will save money on their utility bills, increase efficiency and help protect our planet for generations to come,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Year after year, competitors from across the country— from firestations and schools to our local ballparks— show us the power of collaboration, creativity and competition to save energy and water.”
In the only coast-to-coast competition of its kind, dozens of different types of commercial buildings face off in each year’s Battle of the Buildings. The Team Challenge features groups of five or more buildings that will work to reduce their collective energy use over the course of a year. This year’s teams hail from supermarket, retail, government, school, banking and many other types of organizations.
Last year’s team winner, the small town of Woodville, Ala., has returned for another round of energy saving. Other community teams include Des Moines, Iowa’s 37 elementary schools, competing against the county’s middle and high schools. The City of Los Angeles’ animal shelters are competing against the city’s libraries, offices and facilities from the general services and sanitation departments.
And along with the team challenge, this year’s competition offers exciting individual building contests, with both the William Jefferson Clinton and the George Bush Presidential Libraries competing, and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, hoping to score more savings than Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.
Competitors measure and track their energy and water consumption online using EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool. Over the course of the competition, participants work to optimize or upgrade equipment, retrofit lighting, and change occupants’ behaviors— with help from Energy Star. The team and individual buildings that reduce energy use the most on a percentage basis over a 12-month performance period will be declared winners.
More than 1,000 buildings are competing in a special water reduction category and will work with EPA’s WaterSense program to apply best practices for commercial building water management. Midpoint results will be posted in early October, and the winners will be announced in May 2016.
This is the sixth year EPA is hosting the Battle of the Buildings, and the competition and positive environmental impacts keep growing. Last year’s competitors saved a combined total of more than two billion kBtus and an estimated $50 million on utility bills. More than 60 buildings in the competition demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater over the course of the year.
Commercial buildings in the United States are responsible for 17 percent of the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $175 billion annually. By improving the energy efficiency of the places Americans work, play, and learn, the competitors help save energy and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Energy Star is the simple choice for energy efficiency. For more than 20 years, people across America have looked to EPA’s Energy Star program for guidance on saving energy, saving money and protecting the environment. Behind each blue label is a product, building, or home that is independently certified to use less energy and cause fewer emissions that contribute to climate change. Join the millions already making a difference at energystar.gov.
More information on the competition: www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings