EPA launches National Building Competition

The Virginia Beach Convention Center- an EPA competition contestant

Recently, the EPA announced the contestants for their “Biggest Loser” style National Building Competition. This competition aims to encourage commercial buildings nationwide to trim their excess energy use. From over 200 applicant buildings, the EPA has chose the following projects as “finalists” for the competition:

As you can see from the above list, these building range from skyscrapers, to hotels, to schools, to retail stores and residence halls. The competition will monitor the energy use of these schools through the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager website and the building that shows the greatest percentage reduction in it’s Energy Use Intensity (EUI) in the approximately one year competitionĀ  time frame will be named the winner on October 26, 2010. By clicking on the building names above, you can visit the profile page for each project that has been published on the ENERGY STAR website. These profile pages give a glimpse into the energy saving strategies that each building intends to implement to become the “Biggest Loser,” which is the interesting thing for me. Strategies range from HVAC equipment replacement and lighting upgrades to operational and behavioral changes. Many of the strategies have no associated costs, while others are quite costly. I am very interested to see the results of this competition to see if there is a significant correlation between money spent on energy reduction strategies and energy saved. My theory (and my hope) is that the projects that work hard to integrate the no (or very low) cost strategies that have to do with user behavior and systems operation have the potential to be just as successful as those who throw a bunch of money at energy saving strategies. While we’re using weight-loss analogies, think of it as a comprehensive diet and exercise plan vs. liposuction.

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2 thoughts on “EPA launches National Building Competition

  1. Are they going to weight the competition for passive measures vs. the ones that are heavily investing? To my way of thinking, it seems like you should get “bonus” points for the passive measures, not for, for lack of a better term, “throwing money at the problem.”

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    1. It does not appear that they are doing any sort of weighting for this competition- it is a strict comparison of percentage of energy saved no matter how much the building spent to achieve the savings. Perhaps weightings will be used in future competitions…

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