The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the individual and team winners of its annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings competition, which tasked building operators with reducing energy and water consumption in commercial and institutional projects. From a total of 6,500 participating buildings, 15 teams of five buildings or more and 15 individual buildings were recognized for energy-use reduction of at least 20 percent. The building and team that cut energy or water consumption by the greatest percentage were named the overall winners.
The teams used Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager and WaterSense programs to monitor their progress and were judged on their percentage-based reduction in weather-normalized source energy-use-intensity from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015. The change over the period was verified at the end of the competition by a licensed engineer or registered architect.
The winning projects are shown below:
Top team, energy-use reduction: Texas A&M University ESCO Project
The team at Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas, improved energy efficiency across six campus buildings by 35 percent. They saved nearly $550,000 in energy-related costs, cutting 1,700 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The project included a lighting retrofit, building automation system update, and the installation of lighting-based occupancy sensors that synced with the HVAC controls; the team also added a pump variable frequency drive. Additionally, their work involved outreach to staff and students to help meet their thermal-comfort needs while maintaining the project’s energy-conservation goals.
Top team, energy-use reduction: Woodville Chapel, Woodville, Ala.
The town of Woodville, Ala., registered five buildings with the Battle of the Buildings Competition: a chapel (top image), a town hall, a wastewater treatment plant, a co-op building, and a community center. During the challenge, the building operators turned off the buildings' mechanical systems when the space was not in use, a frequent occurrence in the small town, helping to reduce energy consumption. The chapel saw the greatest amount of savings, with an 89.4 percent energy-use reduction during the competition.
Top team, water-use reduction: Boys & Girls Club All Stars
Working with the Southface Energy Institute, in Atlanta, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America cut water consumption by more than half across 12 of its buildings in seven states. Among the changes were basic fixes like upgrading plumbing infrastructure, stopping leaks, and tightening faucets. Additionally, some of the educational buildings switched from potable water systems to rainwater capture and distribution.
Top team, water-use reduction: South Rome Boys & Girls Club
This Northwest Georgia Boys & Girls Club location added a rainwater harvesting system, whose uses include watering the on-site community garden. During the competition, the location cut water consumption by 73.7 percent.