Making copies the Energy Efficient Way

Imaging

By: Chris Kent

Pop quiz: Does your home/office imaging equipment (printer, copier, scanner, etc.) have the ENERGY STAR label? If it does, consider yourself a very smart shopper. On average, imaging equipment that is ENERGY STAR certified is 40 – 55 percent more efficient than a standard model. From copiers and printers, to fax machines and scanners, imaging equipment accounts for some of the first products to ever earn the ENERGY STAR label. As these products grow in use in homes and offices across the country, EPA’s ENERGY STAR program continues to make strides in making them more energy efficient.

Through the years, EPA has strengthened the energy efficiency requirements so that models meeting the latest requirements will be more energy efficient than ever. Now, by meeting requirements to enter low-power “sleep” modes when inactive, and using efficient power supplies, an ENERGY STAR certified copier saves energy when it is in use AND when it is not.

Looking for ways to cut down your imaging costs even more? Consider purchasing an all-in-one device the next time you are in the market. An all-in-one device (or multifunction device) that meets ENERGY STAR requirements can result in significant energy and paper savings for businesses.  The multifunction device typically performs two or more functions (scan, copy, print, fax) housed within one unit.  By comparison, with single-function devices every piece of networked equipment uses electricity, even when it is not in use.  But by combining these functions into one device, you can save on electricity costs by reducing the number of devices into one integrated unit.  Also, these multifunction devices are where industry is incorporating innovative energy saving technologies, so despite having multiple functions, a multifunction device may actually use less energy than a comparable single function unit.

If your printer/copier/multifunction device is older than 5 years, it is likely that your printer’s energy consumption is about 50% higher than a new machine.  Industry continues to make great strides in improving the energy performance of imaging equipment and ENERGY STAR continues to revise its requirements to recognize these top performers.

Some features that save on energy, paper and ink costs include:

  • Sleep mode and automatic shut off: ENERGY STAR products are required to automatically go into a reduced power state after a specified period of inactivity.  This provides great energy savings.
  • Automatic double-sided printing/duplexing: Automatically setting a printer or multifunction device to print double sided saves up to 50% of your paper usage.  Printer and multifunction devices that can produce images on both sides of the paper by automatically flipping the paper make it easier to produce a double-sided page, which cuts down on paper use.  Paper is the largest energy impact associated with printing, and in most cases, making this change does not cost anything additional.
  • Various quality settings: Many units have more than one quality setting and using a lower quality or draft mode when printing draft or internal documents can save ink.
  • Color vs Monochromatic: Printing in color generally does not use any additional energy than printing in monochromatic. But you can spend more on ink depending on the machine you choose. Units that use one cartridge for all colors tend to waste more ink than units with individual color cartridges. This is because colors are used at different rates, but the cartridge must be replaced once any one color has run out.

When looking to buy a new printer or multifunction device, go the ENERGY STAR Imaging Equipment product finder to find the right product for your needs.   And remember, think before printing.

Chris Kent

About the Author: Chris Kent has worked at EPA for 25 years and for the last 7 years has been the product lead for the ENERGY STAR imaging product development. 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA Unveils the Winner of the National Building Competition!

Battle of the Buildings2

By: Andrea Schnitzer

Have you ever seen the NBC show, The Biggest Loser? It brings together a group of motivated people, who all have one goal in common—a desire to get healthy and lose unneeded weight.  Today, EPA is announcing the winners of the fourth annual EPA ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings, a competition that is inspired by the hit NBC show. But instead of individuals working to lose excess weight, this year-long competition brings together commercial buildings from across the country to see who can reduce the most energy use. Today we are excited to announce this year’s winners and open registration for an exciting new competition year.

The Results are in!

Claiborne Elementary School

Claiborne Elementary School

This year, Claiborne Elementary School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, won the competition by cutting its energy use nearly in half!  But this impressive accomplishment only tells part of the story about the more than 3,000 competitors who threw their hats in the ring this year. The top 15 finishers reduced their energy waste by more than 29 percent, and nearly 50 buildings in the competition achieved at least a 20 percent reduction in energy use. In the end, the competitors saved a combined total of more than 130,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and $20 million on utility bills. To see a list of the competitors and their energy savings, go to www.energystar.gov/battleofthebuildings.

Many were winners. Only one was the biggest loser.

Claiborne Elementary School emerged victorious by cutting its energy use by a whopping 46.9 percent in one year. And they did this largely through low and no-cost efforts, like educating students and teachers about the actions they can take every day to save energy. This included adjusting thermostats, keeping doors and windows closed when the heat or air conditioning is on, turning off lights, and making sure electronic devices are turned off at the end of each day.  The school also fine-tuned automated controls of the HVAC and lighting systems, making sure that lights were turned off in unoccupied areas and that the heating and cooling systems were optimized to run only when necessary.

Small changes make a big difference.  

The results aren’t all that different than what we often see on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Buildings across the nation compete to work off their energy waste with help from ENERGY STAR. At the end, the building that cuts its energy use the most is declared the winner.

And just like on the TV show, there are ups and downs for every building. Sometimes, drastic measures are needed, but often it just takes small changes every day that add up to big savings. Just like it’s not always necessary to take extreme measures to lose weight, buildings don’t always need to implement expensive technology upgrades to start cutting energy use. Likewise, adopting small lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising can make all the difference. Changing behaviors, whether it’s by turning off lights that aren’t being used, not heating or cooling empty spaces, and unplugging energy-wasting equipment, can make a huge impact when it’s done regularly and becomes a lifestyle.

Step on the scale. Repeat.

Of course, one of the most important steps in an energy waste-loss program is stepping on the scale. For buildings, that means entering monthly energy data in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, EPA’s energy and water measurement and tracking tool. By continuing to monitor and track the ups and downs of energy and water use, building owners and managers can find out where they stand…and where they need to go.

Join us for the 2014 competition. Register by May 16!

So who really won this year? The short answer: we all did. When buildings use less energy, the plants that power them emit fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, resulting in a cleaner, healthier environment for all of us.

Want to be a part of the solution? Ask your management to enter your building in the 2014 competition. This year, compete to win EPA recognition for energy and water savings, or join as part of a team competing against other groups to become the next biggest energy or water saver.

Learn more and register at www.energystar.gov/battleofthebuildings

About the Author: Andrea Schnitzer is a National Program Manager with the ENERGY STAR program for Commercial Buildings and Industrial Plants.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Back to School: You Need Your Sleep! (And Your Computer Does Too)

Computer

By: Steve Ryan & Jamie Ryan

Steve Ryan: The school year has officially begun and countless parents are admonishing their kids to get some sleep. We have all heard that a well-rested body yields a sharp mind.  But for many young people, it is not so easy to sleep with the pressure of knowing you’re taking a test that could have big implications on your chances of getting into a certain college – or if you’re already in college, for keeping up your GPA.  Well, it may surprise you to learn that there may be other thinking units in your house with this problem.  In fact, your computer may not be getting any sleep at all.  Luckily, with a few simple steps you can make sure that your computer gets all the sleep it needs—even if you do not—and also save energy, money and help protect the environment.

In fact, if you activate the power management features (aka sleep features) on your computer, it can cut your electricity use roughly in half, saving $25–75 per year. Saving energy reduces air pollution and reduces the impacts of climate change, since power plants burn fossil fuels to generate the electricity that keeps your computers, smart phones and other devices running (which in turn creates greenhouse gases and other pollution).

So, how do you do it? Just click here and EPA will show you the way. As my parents used to say, electricity does not grow on trees. Okay, they actually said that money does not grow on trees, but I think you get the point and can see how this simple move can save your family money.

As I sat at home writing this blog post it occurred to me that I should ask an actual student how they feel about putting their computer to sleep. Let’s face it—many times they are the ones leaving it on around the clock. My daughter Jamie graciously agreed to write a few words to help encourage her peers to use their computers more efficiently:

Jamie Ryan: I think we can all agree (as students) that nothing is more irritating than the incessant reminders of the importance of sleep.  Academics often put us in a position where we must choose between sleep and a good grade.  However, it is an important factor in our success.  And when it comes to preventing climate change, saving energy from your computer is also very important. While it can be very easy to keep it on day and night, it deserves sleep just as much as you do. And if giving it a rest is a great way to protect our environment from climate change, I think that it is well worth the effort. This school year I plan to spread the word about power management to the other kids in my school. With all of the time that we spend in front of the computer, this seems like the least we could do to help make a difference in the protection of our environment.

Steve Ryan:  Here is one last tip for all of the moms and dads out there: Once you’ve taken a few moments to change the settings on your home computer, be sure to check if your computer at work is going to sleep.  Even if there are only 50 computers in your office, it could possibly save your organization $3,500 per year in energy costs.  You may have just earned a promotion!  Work for a bigger organization? One major company we work with activated power management features on 75,000 computers and is estimated to be saving $2.5 million a year.  That’s enough energy savings to light over 23,000 homes for a year and reduce greenhouse gas emission by 20,000 tons. But don’t feel like you have to save the whole world. Start at home and just take one simple step that will save you money and help the environment.  Besides, sleep is ohhh so good.  And to all the students out there–best of luck on your exams.

Steve Ryan started working for the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program in 1999.  He currently manages a national campaign to promote power management as well as other information technology energy efficiency initiatives called “The Low Carbon IT Campaign.”  For more information and to get step by step instructions on how to put your computer into low power mode, go tohttp://www.energystar.gov/powermanagement. Jamie Ryan is a senior at Oakton High School in Oakton, VA.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Cutting Energy Waste from Commercial Buildings Just Got a Little Easier

Lauren Hodges Pitcher

Lauren Hodges Pitcher, EPA

By: Lauren Hodges Pitcher

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that it’s hard to do without regularly stepping on the scale. That little instrument doesn’t lie—it tells us if we weigh more or less than we’d like to. It tells us whether our impressive showing at the gym last week was enough to counteract the effects of Saturday night’s four-course meal. And in some cases, a big drop or gain can indicate when something in our body is not working properly.

But did you know that every month, more than 300,000 commercial buildings also step on a scale to make sure that they are in good shape, energy-wise? Before you start picturing a scale the size of a football field, I’ll tell you that this is a virtual scale, available from ENERGY STAR through our online Portfolio Manager tool. Through Portfolio Manager, any building can measure and track its energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use in a secure online account–for free.

Nearly 40 percent of the commercial building space in the country is currently “stepping on the scale” every month through Portfolio Manager. That’s great news because although commercial buildings use about 18 percent of our nation’s energy, and contribute about 18 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, they don’t have to. On average, about 30 percent of this energy is wasted! And here’s more good news: A recent study of buildings that consistently used Portfolio Manager over a three-year period showed that they cut their energy use by an average of seven percent (or 2.4 percent per year)!

blog portfolio manager

So let’s get more buildings on the scale, and let’s do what we can to help them save energy and trim down their energy “waste”-lines! Here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Approach leaders at your workplace, your children’s school, your congregation, your favorite stores, and any other buildings in your community. Suggest that they start stepping on the scale and managing their energy use with help from ENERGY STAR. Send them to energystar.gov/PortfolioManager to learn more.
  2. Bring your green to work! The same simple steps you take at home to save energy can make a big difference in buildings, too. Turn off lights in empty rooms, shut down your computer at the end of the day, and use blinds to block the hot summer sun. Find more tips, plus fun interactive games and quizzes here, on the ENERGY STAR website.
  3. Set a goal to encourage one building in your community to earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification. Yup, just like a refrigerator, buildings can also earn the ENERGY STAR if they are among the most energy efficient in the country! Learn more here.

And did we mention that we just launched a complete upgrade to Portfolio Manager? Now it’s easier than ever to use, with new wizards, reports, graphs, and sharing features. With President Obama calling for a 50 percent cut in the amount of energy that commercial buildings waste, there is no better time to encourage the buildings in your community to take Portfolio Manager for a test drive at energystar.gov/NewPortfolioManager. Who knows how much energy and money you may help them save?

Lauren Hodges Pitcher directs communications activities for the ENERGY STAR program for commercial buildings and industrial plants. She is proud to work in an ENERGY STAR certified office building, and her favorite stores all track their energy use in Portfolio Manager. 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

More than Just the Cars: Building a Better Dealership

 

NADA

NADA launches new Energy Ally program to help dealers complete ENERGY STAR survey

By: Lauren Bailey, National Automobile Dealers Association

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is always looking to help owners create a better business. What’s an easy way to do that? Find places to save money without compromising a quality experience for our customers. One place we have found huge potential is in increasing energy efficiency. In view of our longstanding partnership with the U.S. EPA, NADA has launched a new program to help new-car and -truck dealerships reduce their energy consumption through the agency’s ENERGY STAR certification program.

In many other sectors of the commercial buildings market, there are national data sets detailing how buildings use energy. These data enable EPA to develop 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR scores, which rank individual buildings relative to other similar buildings across the country. A score of 50 represents median energy performance, whereas a score of 75 means that a building is more energy efficient than 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. These scores provide building owners and managers with the critical information they need to assess performance, prioritize investments, and verify improvements over time.

Currently there is no national data set on how new car dealerships use energy. As a result, new car dealerships are not currently able to earn a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score on EPA’s online energy benchmarking tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. For this reason, NADA and EPA are encouraging dealerships to complete a brief survey, available at www.nada.org/energystar. By completing a brief survey, we can help establish some guidelines to help dealerships cut energy costs and reduce emissions. The survey asks dealers to share their yearly utility bills, square footage—inside and out—and different types of equipment used at the dealership, among other questions.

We need to be sure the survey process is thorough, so before we can begin the ENERGY STAR certification process, we need to benchmark the energy usage of at least 500 dealerships. To encourage participation, NADA has launched a new program called Energy Ally, which is a way for outside organizations, such as accounting, consulting and energy management firms, to partner with dealers to get the survey completed. Any business that helps five or more dealerships complete the survey earns an NADA Energy Ally designation. You can apply here.

Dealers are already doing many great things to reduce their buildings’ energy use in communities across the country. One such dealer, Shelor Motor Mile in Christiansburg, VA, has made some simple and cost effective fixes, like installing ENERGY STAR certified CFLs and purchasing high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, that will save money and energy. After all, as Shelor Motor Mile’s Energy Manager John Jordan says, “The bottom line is: it’s about the bottom line. And if you save energy, you’re gonna save money.” Learn more about what Shelor Motor Mile is doing to improve energy efficiency by watching the video found here.

Lauren Bailey is an attorney with the National Automobile Dealers Association where she works on environmental and labor issues.  She received her law degree from the Catholic University of America and her undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania State University.

 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA’s Biggest Energy Loser Wins Big…Can You?

Battle of the BuildingsBy: Alena Hutchinson

A few weeks ago, EPA announced the winners of its 2012 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition. For the third year in a row, we were blown away by the results. Out of more than 3,000 competitors, all of the top 15 finishers reduced their energy waste by more than 30 percent. In addition, more than 85 buildings in the competition had a 20 percent reduction. Altogether, the competitors saved a combined total of more than 3 billion kBtus of energy and $50 million on utility bills.

Many were winners. Only one was the biggest loser.

So, who won? Demarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, NJ, emerged victorious by cutting its energy use by more than half and achieving a whopping 52 percent reduction in one year. And they did it mostly through no- and low-cost changes, like turning off and unplugging equipment when it wasn’t in use and practicing “toast and coast” heating — the turning off of boilers once the building had reached outside temperatures on nice days.

While the big savings numbers always get the most attention, perhaps even more impressive is what the average competitor accomplished. Buildings that reduced their consumption during the competition saved an average of nearly $25,000 and reduced their energy use by 8% from the previous year.

Small changes make a big difference.  

The results aren’t all that different than what we often see on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, which was the inspiration for this competition. Buildings across the nation compete to work off their energy waste with help from ENERGY STAR. At the end, the building that cuts its energy use the most is declared the winner.

And just like on the TV show, there are ups and downs for every building. Sometimes, drastic measures are needed, but often it just takes small changes everyday that add up to big savings. Just like it’s not always necessary to take extreme measures to lose weight, buildings don’t always need to implement expensive technology upgrades to start cutting energy use. Likewise, adopting small lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising can make all the difference. Changing behaviors, whether it’s by turning off lights that aren’t being used, not heating or cooling empty spaces, and unplugging energy-wasting equipment, can make a huge impact when it’s done regularly and becomes a lifestyle.

Step on the scale. Repeat.

Of course, one of the most important steps in an energy waste-loss program is stepping on the scale. For buildings, that means entering monthly energy data in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, EPA’s energy measurement and tracking tool. By continuing to monitor and track the ups and downs of energy use, building owners and managers can find out where they stand…and where they need to go.

Join the fun next year. Sign up by May 31!

So who really won this year? The short answer: we all did. When buildings use less energy, the plants that power them emit fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, resulting in a cleaner, healthier environment for all of us.

Want to be a part of the solution? Ask your management to enter your building in the 2013 competition. The fourth season brings all new twists, including new ways to win and more ways to compete. Perhaps the biggest change this year is that tenants can compete! So whether your organization occupies all of a building or part of one, you can compete to become the next biggest energy loser.

Learn more and register at www.energystar.gov/battleofthebuildings

Alena Hutchinson is a member of the Commercial and Industrial Branch for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Should You Buy a Desktop or a Laptop?

Computer

By: Robert Meyers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, but many people are still looking to buy new computers for the holidays.  But what kind of computer?  Do you really need a desktop, or can a laptop do the same job just as well?  Many believe that you need a desktop for home use, but I’m here to tell you that laptops have become quite powerful in recent years and can completely replicate the desktop experience.

Since this is ENERGY STAR’s blog, you can guess why I’m writing about laptops versus desktops.  Energy consumption!  New, energy efficient laptops can consume anywhere from 50% – 80% less energy than a desktop.  And based on our experiences here at ENERGY STAR, we estimate that ultrabooks and netbooks can go even further and consume about 80% – 90% less energy.  With a docking station, external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you won’t even feel that you’re using a laptop.

Whether or not you should go with a laptop depends on your needs.  Do you use your computer for word processing, email, music, video watching, photo editing, web browsing, or even some light to moderate gaming?  A laptop does all of this just as well as a desktop.  Do you run high-end games, render videos/3D models, program and number crunch for work, or need to run a very large number of processes at once?  Then a desktop might be a better choice, although even here some higher-end laptops can cover many of these uses.  For those worried about graphics, integrated graphics solutions have become very powerful recently and now have capabilities equal to entry level graphics cards.  Additionally, many laptops are capable of hosting discrete graphics cards if you need one.

Desktops will provide an edge in raw power and graphics, but laptops do a great job with all of the common, everyday tasks that most people need computers for these days.  I’m writing this blog on my work computer, which is a four year old laptop on a docking station that’s plugged into dual monitors, plus a separate keyboard and mouse.  I almost always am simultaneously running an email client, a word processor, a spreadsheet application, multiple web browser windows, and an antivirus program without any problems. 

For most people, it’s a no-brainer:  Laptops can provide the exact same services and experience as a desktop with much less than half the energy consumption.  Plus, you can pick them up and take them with you when you when you leave the house!  I’d love to see a desktop do that.

Biography:  RJ joined ENERGY STAR in late 2010 and immediately began work on energy efficiency specifications for a range of IT equipment.  RJ has a background in physics, electrical engineering, and sustainable energy and is told constantly by his family and friends that he is a huge nerd.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

The 2012 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: It’s On!

Today, nearly 3,300 buildings are stepping on the scale and kicking off a national competition to see who can reduce their energy waste the most. That’s right – EPA’s ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings is back and bigger than ever! Now in its third year, the competition pits buildings across the country against each other in a “Biggest Loser”-style battle to work off their extra energy and water “weight” through efficiency improvements.

The weight-loss analogy has always worked well for this competition since the steps involved in healthy weight-loss are the same steps as those to strategically work off energy waste. Competitors measure their starting weight, set goals, make improvements following a strategic approach (not a crash diet), regularly weigh-in throughout their journey, and celebrate successes. On average, 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted, which leaves plenty of opportunities for savings.

This year’s participants also come in all shapes and sizes. They represent more than 30 different types of buildings — including retail stores, schools, hotels, and even baseball stadiums — and hail from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition includes a strong showing of buildings from the public sector, including nearly 600 federal buildings, nearly 300 state and local government buildings, 225 public schools, and four buildings owned by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. The competitors also include a Kmart store on the island of St. Thomas and crime lab in Phoenix.

Of the initial pool of nearly 3,300 competitors, the building that demonstrates the greatest percentage-based reduction in energy use intensity will be crowned as the winner in April 2013. In addition, the competition will recognize the top finishers by building type, as well as all buildings that reduce their energy use by more than 20 percent.  And, for the first time, ENERGY STAR is partnering with EPA’s WaterSense program to recognize the buildings that achieve the largest water use reductions. The 245 buildings in the 2011 competition saved a total of more than 240 million kBtus of energy and $5.2 million on annual utility bills. Given that there are 13 times more competitors this year, the final savings should be enormous!

Visit www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings to follow the efforts of the buildings throughout the year. The competition site features an interactive map to find buildings near you, a live Twitter feed where competitors will post updates on their progress, and a user-generated photo stream where competitors will upload pictures of their energy- and water-saving efforts.

Good luck to all of the competitors, and may the best building win!

Alena Hutchison works for the Commercial and Industrial Buildings Branch for EPA’s ENERGY STAR program.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

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Bringing Green and ENERGY STAR to My Work Environment

By: Melissa Franolich, Sustainability Manager, LG Electronics USA, Inc.

CREATING A MOVEMENT

Generally, I find that when I mention energy efficiency or sustainability to friends and colleagues, it makes their eyes glaze over, and they think that I’m out to push a green agenda.   But, what they don’t realize is that being “green” can do so much to change people’s lives—it can shrink monthly energy bills; it can reduce health damaging pollutants; and it can even create and inspire innovation.  And in my work world, it can create a movement!

I’ve seen remarkable results with programs such as “Bring Your Green to Work with ENERGY STAR®” right in my own office.  For the past several months, LG Electronics USA has been promoting energy efficiency and other sustainability topics with monthly “Live Green at LG” email blasts.  As part of this campaign, we’ve been sharing ways to make our offices greener by making more informed choices.   From changing the power management settings on our computers to unplugging electronics when they are not in use or fully charged, to remembering to turn the light off when you’re the last one leaving conference rooms and offices—these tips are really catching on!

INSPIRING BEHAVIOR CHANGE

Just as health studies have found that adapting healthy habits can motivate others around us to do the same, the best motivation for inspiring behavior change when it comes to being environmentally friendly is seeing others adapt green behaviors.

Making this green transition in the office means getting our operations team to order recycled content printer paper and encouraging double-sided printing.  It means removing paper coffee cups in favor of LG branded recycled corn-based plastic mugs.  It means using ENERGY STAR qualified equipment everywhere at the office (and at home!). And, it means constantly coming up with simple and easy steps to make our corporate culture even greener.

In the coming months, LG will undertake an internal Eco-Challenge whereby employees will be asked to make individual commitments to reducing their own carbon footprint.  This initiative will support our industry-leading goal of reducing greenhouse gasses in LG’s U.S operations by a whopping 50 percent by 2020.  Plus, as a proud 2012 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year, LG believes it has an obligation to help educate employees and keep them excited about their role in a sustainable workplace.

We all know the adage: actions speak louder than words. Working with my colleagues, I want to show how together we can make a positive difference to improve energy efficiency and protect our environment.  And it’s not hard to do; small steps add up to giant leaps forward.  ENERGY STAR provides me with ample resources to help make this happen.

Melissa Franolich is the Sustainability Manager for  LG Electronics USA, Inc.  LG Electronics is a 2012 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year award winner.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.