Energy efficient buildings in national spotlight: EPA kicks off countrywide competition

July 25, 2012

The increased number of energy efficient buildings in the U.S. has been supported by a number of government agencies and private organizations, as both groups are hoping to lower the impact that commercial structures have on the environment.

Efforts like the Department of Energy-sponsored Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), which is headquartered in Philadelphia, are looking to promote a change in the commercial real estate sector through making retrofits and renovations more attractive options for companies.

The EEB Hub is hoping to transform the commercial sector in the Greater Philadelphia region to act as a national model for how sustainable and green structures are not just environmentally friendly, but also financially practical. This approach, highlighting the dual benefits of retrofits, is just one of the nationwide efforts to enact change.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has relied upon national efforts to enact a change, as the agency is launching its annual competition through its Energy Star program.

According to RealEstateRama, the EPA has launched the 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings, which consists of 3,200 structures across the country in a quest to see which property notches the top score.

The goals of the competition are to promote a friendly quest to lower utility costs, improve energy efficiency and protect people's health and the environment.

"This year the number of teams committing to increase energy efficiency through the Energy Star Battle of the Buildings is larger than ever before – more than ten times as many as last year. We’re expecting record energy savings as more and more buildings cut back on their energy use," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in a statement.

She noted that the winning teams would not only benefit from the recognition of being victorious, but would also create new ideas that could lead to improvements within the sector.

"As in years past, these ideas will translate into new ways we can all cut energy use, save money on our power bills, and reduce the carbon pollution that is changing our climate," said Jackson.

Improvements to lighting efficiency could help building owners cut costs, these types of upgrades can reduce these expenditures by up to 30 percent per month, according to CleanTechnica.

Simple improvements like installing LED lighting or limiting the use of electricity in areas of a building with little traffic can lead to a sharp reduction in costs.