WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Claiborne Elementary School, Baton Rouge, La., has won the annual Energy Star National Building Competition. EPA said teams from more than 3,000 buildings across the country spent the past year competing to obtain the greatest reduction in energy use. Claiborne Elementary School won by cutting its energy use nearly in half.

Together, the competitors in this year’s National Building Competition saved more than $20 million and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 metric tons, said EPA. Many organizations used the competition to involve people — such as staff and students — who might not ordinarily be engaged in such efforts.

Teams from more than 25 different types of commercial buildings faced off in this year’s competition, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nearly 50 buildings demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater in a single year.

The top overall finishers and their percentage-based reductions in energy use are:

Claiborne Elementary School, Baton Rouge, La. - 45.9 percent
Hillside Center II, Columbia, Md. - 37.1 percent
Lake Local - Lake High School/Wellness Center, Uniontown, Ohio - 36.2 percent
UNC-Chapel Hill Bioinformatics Building, Chapel Hill, N.C. - 35.8 percent
High Construction Company Building 105, Mechanicsburg, Pa. - 35.3 percent
JCPenney, Shawnee, Okla. - 33.9 percent
Studebaker Elementary School, Des Moines, Iowa - 31.9 percent
McCombs Middle School, Des Moines, Iowa - 29.7 percent
Eastman Chemical Company Building B-470, Kingsport, Tenn. - 29.6 percent
Eastman Chemical Company Building B-469, Kingsport, Tenn. - 29.6 percent
South Greene High School, Greeneville, Tenn. - 29.2 percent
Fourth Walnut Centre, Cincinnati - 29.2 percent
DeBusk Elementary School, Greeneville, Tenn. - 29.1 percent
University of Florida’s Physical Plant Division Central Stores, Gainesville, Fla. - 29 percent
West Middle School, Shelbyville, Ky. - 28.9 percent

The winner, Claiborne Elementary School, taught students and teachers what actions they could take every day to save energy. Suggestions included adjusting thermostats, keeping doors and windows closed when the heat or a/c is on, turning off lights when they are last to leave a room, and making sure all electronic devices are shut off at the end of each day. The school also fine-tuned automated controls of the HVAC and lighting systems, making sure that lights were turned off in unoccupied areas and that the heating and cooling systems were optimized to run only when necessary.

The fourth annual Energy Star National Building Competition measured energy performance for the entire 2013 calendar year. Competitors tracked their buildings’ monthly energy consumption using EPA’s online energy tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The energy use reductions for each top finisher were verified by an independent licensed professional engineer or registered architect at the end of the competition.

For more information on the Energy Star National Building Competition, go to www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings.

Publication date: 4/28/2014

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