‘Biggest Losers’ Unveiled in Battle of Energy Star Buildings
By Paula Melton
The path to reducing EUI is not the same for every building. The winning parking garage cut more than 60% but began and ended with very low EUI, while second-place winner Twinsburg High School took a steep downward dive.
The second Energy Star National Building Competition, titled “Battle of the Buildings,” has released 2011 results, with the top finalist chalking up a 63.2% reduction in energy use.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sponsor of the contest, the 245 participating teams saved a total of $5.2 million on utility bills during the Battle of the Buildings. The buildings saved 240 million kBtus of energy during the contest year, preventing release of 30,000 metric tons of CO2—comparable to the annual emissions associated with powering 3,600 homes.
The winning building was a parking garage at the University of Central Florida. EPA acknowledged that parking garages and warehouses “may not present the same challenges as occupied buildings, but they are significant because of the sheer number of these facilities.” Not only does the winning building remind us that “these buildings should not be forgotten,” says EPA, but participating in the Battle of the Buildings also catalyzed other changes at the university, such as an aggressive after-hours lighting schedule and recommissioning throughout the campus. In addition to reducing energy use intensity (EUI) by more than 60% in the building, the university saved $34,907 in utility bills simply by replacing 150-watt sodium light fixtures with T-5 fluorescents and 400-watt fixtures with LEDs.
Twinsburg High School & Sports Complex in Twinsburg, Ohio, took second place in the competition by reducing EUI 46.3%, resulting in utility savings of $505,323. Twinsburg also took first place in the K–12 school category.
Scientific Instruments in West Palm Beach, Florida, took home the prize for office buildings by reducing 42.2%. Office Depot in Plano, Texas, was the top retail building, with a 34.1% reduction in EUI. St. Mark’s Hospital in La Grange, Texas, got the cleanest bill of health for hospitals by cutting 22.7%. The top house of worship, with a 17.9% reduction, was the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.
Although the official contest period went from May through October 2011, the final results compared two full years of energy use.