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News Releases from Region 04

Woodville, AL Team Recognized as EPA's 2015 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition Top Awardee

Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (pinkney.james@epa.gov)
404-562-9183, 404-562-8400

Release Date: May 5, 2015

ATLANTA - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a Woodville, Ala. building team, "Going Blue for Woodville," as the top award winner in the Agency's fifth-annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition: Team Challenge. The Woodville team cut their average energy use by 25 percent.

The five-building team, which included a town hall, community center, chapel, co-op building, and wastewater treatment plant, in the 741-person town achieved the greatest energy reduction of 100 teams during a 12-month period. The agency is also recognizing the 2015 Top Building, the Woodville, Ala., Chapel, for an energy use reduction of 68.4%.

More than 5,500 individual buildings across the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico competed in the competition. Collectively, the competitors saved more than $50 million, cut their energy use by more than two billion kBtus, and prevented more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions-equal to the annual energy use of more than 37,000 homes. Competitors reduced their energy use an average of six percent, equivalent to an average savings of nearly $20,000 per building.

"EPA's Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition brings together communities to find important solutions to reduce harmful carbon pollution fueling climate change, save energy, and significantly reduce energy costs in the places where we work, play, and learn," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "It's great to see the collaboration and hard work the competition inspires to accomplish energy efficiency measures that will continue to benefit these communities for years to come."

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 targeted wasted energy in buildings and motivated building owners and occupants to improve energy efficiency, reduce harmful carbon pollution, and save money.

The town of Woodville received a grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to retrofit its single-phase power at the wastewater treatment plant to three-phase power. The town used the momentum of the grant to roll into the EPA contest and approached improvements to each building separately. The team studied current technology and installed Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, LED lights and timers, and turned off electrical items not in use.

This year's theme, "Team Challenge," featured teams of five or more buildings who worked together to reduce their collective energy use as much as possible over the course of a year. Many organizations used the competition to involve staff and students in the effort. For example, five Sears stores, that competed as team "Robinson's Reducers", upgraded their stores' lighting and installed a remote energy monitoring system. In a county outside Wilmington, Del., children from 13 elementary schools teamed against their older siblings in the county's five middle schools and six high schools. Though the competition emphasized team participation, individual buildings entered and competed on their own to earn the title of 2015 Top Building.

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. Thousands of businesses and organizations work with EPA's Energy Star program and are saving billions of dollars and preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.

The Energy Star Battle of the Buildings: Team Competition measured energy performance for the entire 2014 calendar year. Competitors tracked their buildings' monthly energy consumption using EPA's online energy tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. At the competition's conclusion, an independently licensed professional engineer or registered architect verified the energy use reductions for each top finisher.

Energy Star is the simple choice for energy efficiency. For more than 20 years, people across America have looked to EPA's Energy Star program for guidance on how to save energy, save money, and protect the environment. Behind each blue label is a product, building, or home that is independently certified to use less energy and cause fewer of the emissions that contribute to climate change. Today, Energy Star is the most widely recognized symbol for energy efficiency in the world, helping families and businesses save $300 billion on utility bills, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by two billion metric tons since 1992. Join the millions who are already making a difference at energystar.gov.

More information on the Energy Star National Building Competition, including top overall finishers and top finishers by building category, an interactive map of competitors, and a wrap-up report: http://www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings

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