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The Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum in Seattle

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program is again pitting buildings against one another to see which property can reduce its energy use the most. The 2011 National Building Competiton: Battle of the Buildings was announced in early May, and it is the second-annual competition of its kind. It will track energy use in 245 buildings that represent 26 different types of commercial buildings around the country. Participating structures include government buildings, hospitals, houses of worship, museums, office buildings, retail stores, and schools, and are located in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Competitors will measure and track their monthly energy consumption via Portfolio Manager, Energy Star’s online energy-tracking tool. From the intial 245 buildings, a small group of finalists will be selected in late July. Finalists must then submit statements of energy performance on their utility data. The competition will compare each building’s energy use intensity (EUI) between two 12-month-periods, with the ending dates of Aug 31, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2011. The building with the largest percentage reduction in energy use will be recognized as the competition’s winner in November. All of the participants are online at energystar.gov/battleofthebuildings. The competition also will have a Twitter feed and a Facebook page.

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FBI Regional Office in Chicago

Credit: David B. Seide

In 2010, Morrison Hall, a student residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, won the competition by cutting its energy use by 35.7 percent in one year, reducing its EUI from 213 in August 2009 to 137 in August 2010.