Efficiency Rock Stars: The 2012 Battle Of The Buildings

No elaborate guitar riffs, no power chords and no drum solos — unlike the ubiquitous Battle of the Bands competition, the federal government’s Energy Star Battle of the Buildings showdown won’t involve any screaming fans or flashing lights. But like the musical competition, one participant this year will emerge victorious.

This year, as last, building managers will compete to save cash and carbon using Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager, an online tool that measures and tracks their buildings’ monthly energy consumption. The competition kicked off on July 25 and will run until April 2013, when the winners will be announced. The overall winner, as well as finalists in each building category, will be those buildings demonstrating the greatest reductions in energy expenditure versus their 2011 utility bills. A list of buildings leading the competition at the halfway point of the competition will be released in Fall 2012, but the public is encouraged to track the progress made by participating buildings on the web throughout the competition.

University of Central Florida parking garage

image via EPA

Last year, the University of Central Florida took the top spot among 245 participating buildings for cutting the energy use of an on-campus parking garage by more than 63 percent. This year, the third annual installment of the Battle of the Buildings will see 3,200 buildings participating. Another notable addition this year is the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program, in partnership with Energy Star, will also recognize the top water use reducers in this year’s competition.

According to the EPA,  the 245 buildings that participated in the Energy Star National Building Competition last year saved a combined $5.2 million on their utility bills, avoiding nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions — equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 3,600 homes a year. This year’s competition promises to save more than ten times that amount, while saving water as well.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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