GSA buildings battle it out to reduce energy use
By Stephanie Kenitzer and Danielle Bogni
As part of GSA’s commitment to create a more sustainable government, the agency has entered more than 600 GSA-owned buildings into the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings.
Teams from those GSA-owned properties, and thousands of other buildings nationwide, will battle it out to see who can most reduce their building’s energy use. Battle of the Buildings competitors in GSA’s Pacific Rim Region include the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco, the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix, the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Honolulu, the Lloyd D. George Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas, and 51 other properties in our four states (California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii).
With the 2013 fiscal year quickly coming to a close, the total average energy use in the region is 48,252 BTU/GSF. This is 2.61 percent less energy than in used in fiscal year 2012, and 14.3 percent less than the baseline year of 2003. Since the baseline year, Region 9 has saved over $18 million in utility costs.
GSA has made significant investments in federal buildings across the United States to ensure they are high-performing and energy-efficient office buildings. These investments in energy saving technologies, setting aggressive energy use targets, ongoing tenant education, establishing green teams, integrating building operations, and a continuous monitoring all contributed to the significant reductions and savings.
Battle of the Buildings competitors measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption and work over the year to cut energy waste through improvements that range from equipment replacement to changes in occupant behavior. Midpoint results will be posted in December. The winner will be announced in April 2014.
In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for buildings to cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020, the competition specifically targets wasted energy in commercial buildings and motivates businesses to improve energy efficiency, reduce harmful carbon pollution, and save money.
Energy Star’s Battle of the Buildings motivates businesses to improve energy efficiency and save energy costs through efficiency improvements from equipment replacement to changes in building occupant actions. Competitors measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption using Portfolio Manager, EPA's Energy Star online energy measurement and tracking tool.
According to the EPA, commercial buildings are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion annually. By improving the energy efficiency where Americans work, play and learn, Battle of the Buildings competitors will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. Last year’s competitors cut energy costs more than $50 million and reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity used by more than 43,000 homes.