By Carsen Mata
The Environmental Protection Agency and ENERGY STAR are winding down their sixth annual Battle of the Buildings competition, as thousands of buildings are battling to see who can reduce their energy and water use the most in 2015, as compared to last year. In their efforts, participants have been retrofitting existing lighting, upgrading equipment, and even suggesting the occupants of their building alter their habits to help fight the cause. Throughout the competition, participants have been tracking their overall progress using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, EPA’s online measurement and tracking tool. This tool measures a building’s monthly energy and water consumption, allowing for each competitor to strategize ways of reducing their emissions. At the end of the 12-month performance period, the team and individual building with the largest percent reductions will be declared winners.
This nationwide competition often garners a lot of attention from a great deal of big names. Companies like Target, Staples, and TD Bank have joined the battle in recent years with successful track records. This year, we’ve been paying close attention to the success stories within EPA Region 2, which covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight tribal nations. In total, the region boasts 178 buildings with 32 coming from 21 different New Jersey cities and 146 from 40 different New York cities. Some of the big names in our area include J.C. Penney, Samsung and Family Dollar Stores.
As most of you know, Family Dollar Stores offers a wide variety of products at affordable price points for families of all types. They provide communities with a mix of merchandise ranging from refrigerated and frozen foods to health and beauty items. Their recent partnership with the Battle of the Buildings competition is quite the story – to date, Family Dollar Stores, Inc. has over 5,500 of its sites benchmarked in the Portfolio Manager tool with more than 7,700 sites registered, making the company one of the largest users ever of the EPA tool.
Family Dollar’s building spectrum registered for the competition includes regular retail locations, distribution centers, and even their store support center. With 19 of their registered sites in Brooklyn, Family Dollar becomes a regional standout.
Commercial buildings in the United States are responsible for 17 percent of the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $175 billion annually. The Battle of the Buildings competition invites corporations and buildings of all sizes to improve the energy efficiency of millions of workplaces. If successful, competitors will ultimately reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, making it one huge fight you won’t want to miss. For more information on previous winners, current competitors and competitor resources visit http://www.energystar.gov/buildings/about-us/how-can-we-help-you/communicate/energy-star-communications-toolkit/motivate-competition-8