By reducing a parking garage’s energy use by more than 63 percent, the University of Central Florida was named the winner of the 2011 Energy Star National Building Compeition: Battle of the Buildings. The competition, put on by the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), challenged competitors to pick a building and reduce its energy use.
More than 245 buildings were entered in the competition from across the country. By making improvements in operations and maintenance and upgrades to equipment and technology, competitors were able to cut energy costs by a total of $5.2 million annually. The total reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the buildings equaled the amount used by more than 3,600 homes.
Each building’s energy was measured for a full year – from Sept. 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011. Competitors tracked their building’s monthly energy consumption using EPA’s Energy Star online energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager. The University of Central Florida had the largest percent-reduction in energy use, adjusted for weather and the size of the building.
Central Florida pulled off its enormous energy reduction in two phases, according to the EPA. First worked on the garage’s interior, installing high performance T-5 Fluorescent lights in place of 150-watt high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures. Then, during Phase II, the top deck of the garage was retrofitted with 16 Cooper LED 236-watt lights in place of the existing 400-watt HPS fixtures. “Ultimately, the lighting retrofit not only yielded significant energy savings and reduced the lighting bill by more than half, but also provided better visibility for the UCF community and visitors,” the EPA said.
Coming in behind Central Florida was Twinsburg High School and Sports Complex, in Ohio, which had a 46.3 percent reduction in energy use. In third place was the Polaris Career Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, with a 43.4 percent reduction. According to the EPA, energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The full report on this year’s competition is available online as a PDF.