Wednesday, July 23, 2014

EPA's Battle of the Buildings

For the past four years, the EPA has hosted the Battle of the Buildings, a nationwide competition that challenges participants to come up with innovative ways of conserving energy and water. The theme of this year's Battle of the Buildings is the "Team Challenge." Teams consist of five or more buildings who collectively work together to save energy and money while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing environmental protection. With over 5,500 buildings making up 112 teams, this year's competition is one of the biggest yet and promisingly one of the biggest reductions in energy consumption as well.
Battle of the Buildings, LEED
Source: energystar.gov

Yearly, commercial buildings face over $100 billion in utility bills. Additionally, commercial buildings in the United States are responsible for nearly 20 percent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions per year. Last year's competition saw an approximate 20 percent reduction in energy use in a majority of the buildings who participated in the competition.  That resulted in an approximate $20 billion collectively saved from the more energy efficient building designs and operations.

Buildings of the competition will track their monthly energy consumption through the EPA's online energy measurement and tracking tool: Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The teams must work together to optimize and upgrade their buildings' equipment, lighting, and their occupants' energy consumption habits. It is not simply an effort on the part of the building owners' but an overall effort on the part of the occupants who can help reduce energy consumption by developing smarter habits when it comes to their individual energy use.

What does it take to win the competition, you ask? At the end of the 12-month performance the team that has reduced their buildings' average energy consumption the most based on percentages will be declared the winner. Apart from the team competition, there are over 700 individual buildings who are in competition to reduce their water consumption during the same time period. These buildings are utilizing the EPA's WaterSense program to learn and implement new practices for water management.

Want to learn more about the competition, see who's leading the way in energy efficiency, or learn how to get involved with next year's competition? Visit ENERGY STAR's website for more information! Mid-competition results will be posted in October and the winner will be announced in April.

Read EPA's full release on the competition here: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/f0d7b5b28db5b04985257359003f533b/72bd4a635997fc4785257d11005ca23b!OpenDocument

What is LEED?
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system. Created by the United States Green Building Council, LEED provides a point system for green buildings and their construction, awarding points for 5 main areas: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Buildings can then be awarded levels of certification--Silver, Gold, or Platinum. The more points a building gets, the higher their level of certification.

Interested in getting your building LEED certified? Visit GreenEdu for a full lineup of accredited courses.