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Six Months in, Buildings Cut Energy Use up to 31%

Buildings owned by Scientific Instruments, the University of Central Florida, and a middle school in Indiana are currently leading the National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings, which challenges owners to see how much they can reduce buildings’ energy use.

The competition, run under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star banner, has announced the current leaders in each of 12 categories, measured as percentage reductions in energy consumption.

This EPA announcement marks the six-month stage of the one-year challenge.

Topping the “office” category is Scientific Instruments’ facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. The office building has reduced its consumption 30 percent.

Jackson Creek Middle School in Bloomington, Ind., is currently leading the “K-12 school” category. It has to date reduced its energy use by 26 percent, the EPA says.

The building that over the last half-year has reduced its energy use by the largest proportion – 31 percent – is the University of Central Florida’s Garage C. The structure tops the “other buildings” category.

Last year’s competition was won by Morrison Hall at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina (pictured). The building cut its energy use by 36 percent over the course of the 2010 competition.

The 2011 competition includes teams representing 245 buildings around the country. To date these buildings have saved more than $3.7 million on utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity used by 2,300 homes annually.

Competitors measure and track their building’s monthly energy consumption using the Energy Star online energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager. The building with the largest percentage reduction in energy use, adjusted for weather and the size of the building, will be recognized as the winner in November.

The top contenders in each building category/percent energy reduction at the midpoint of the competition:

University of Central Florida Garage C (Other): Orlando, Fla., 31%

Scientific Instruments (Office): West Palm Beach, Fla., 30%

Jackson Creek Middle School (K-12 school): Bloomington, Ind., 26%

USE Credit Union (Bank): San Diego, Calif., 20%

North Suburban Medical Office Building (Medical Office): Thornton, Colo., 18%

Office Depot (Retail Store): Plano, Texas, 17%

Hammond U.S. Courthouse (Courthouse): Hammond, Ind., 14%

First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (House of Worship): Minneapolis, Minn., 14%

St Mark’s Medical Center (Hospital): La Grange, Texas, 10%

Norandex (Warehouse): Rochester, N.Y., 8%

Kenan Residence Hall at UNC (Dorm): Chapel Hill, N.C., 3%

The Colonnade Hotel (Hotel): Boston, Mass., 2%

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4 thoughts on “Six Months in, Buildings Cut Energy Use up to 31%

  1. Thanks for this info, hadn’t heard of “Battle of the Buildings.” I’m surprised there’s no “Grocery” building representation on this list – inefficient commercial refrigeration consumes a ton of energy!

  2. Building energy vs use of building energy. What goes on inside the building has little to do (usually) with the energy required to OPERATE the building. For example, riser pumps, ac in the lobbies, elevators, windows, insulation vs photocopiers, computers, lights.

  3. Until LEED adopts a compliance procedure like EPA’s Energy Star, it cannot assure that real energy savings result.Congratulations on publishing your excellent findings. Thank you

  4. Any building that can now achieve a large percentage of energy reduction simply reflects how negligently it has been operated over the years.

    Larry Spielvogel, PE, FASHRAE

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