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JCPenney, Sears Buildings, and Others, Compete to Improve Energy Efficiency

JCPenney and Sears stores are among 14 commercial buildings that are competing in the first national energy efficiency contest sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The building that trims the most kilowatt hours will be declared the winner in October 2010.

The EPA received nearly 200 applications and selected 14 finalists to be judged on their energy performance from Sept. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2010. The energy use of each building is being monitored by EPA’s Energy Star online energy measurement and tracking tool, Portfolio Manager.

The 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 Website will provide profiles of each contestant and chronicle their progress over the next several months.

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, with about 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings wasted, according to the EPA.

EPA’s Energy Star Leaders prevented the emissions of more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and saved more than $48 million across their commercial building portfolios in 2009.

To ensure that federal buildings maintain their peak energy performance, the Association for Facilities Engineering (AFE) is urging U.S. lawmakers to enact legislation that would require federal facilities to be operated and maintained by workers who are trained and certified in highly complex building systems.

AFE hopes the legislation will be used as a model for best practices in the operation and maintenance of high-efficiency building systems. The association expects to unveil a new certification specifically for energy efficiency.

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