A residence hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) beat out 13 other buildings to win the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first EPA National Building Competition. Launched on April 27, the competition challenges teams in 14 buildings across the U.S. to measure each building’s energy use and to reduce waste with help from the EPA’s Energy Star program. The competition measured energy performance from Sept. 1, 2009 through Aug. 31 of this year.

Morrison Residence Hall at UNC reduced its energy use by 35.7 percent in one year, which saved more than $250,000 in energy bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 730 metric tons. A Sears retail store in Glen Burnie, Md., came in second place in the competition, with a 31.7 percent reduction in energy use. In total, the 14 competing buildings reduced their energy use by more than 44 million kBtu and saved more than $950,000 in utility bills.

Energy efficiency strategies used at Morrison Residence Hall included improved operations and maintenance. A touch-screen computer monitor in the lobby allowed residents to track energy consumption, and competitions between dormitory floors encouraged students to reduce their energy use.

All buildings in the competition were monitored through Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager online measurement and tracking tool. Results were judged on the greatest percentage-based reduction in energy consumption in a building relative in size. Calculations also were adjusted to account for changes in weather, and third-party utility statements were required to verify energy performance at the end of the competition.

For more information on the competition result, visit energystar.gov/buildingcontest.