From schools to grocery stores to hotels to offices, 20 new organizations across the country are being recognized for rising to the challenge from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the energy they use, save money, and help the environment.
As part of the Energy Star Building Challenge, these organizations joined 20 others as Energy Star Leaders for improving the energy efficiency of buildings. Among the organization to join this year are Accor North America in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, as well as 14 school districts across the country.
Energy Star Leaders manage over 212 million square feet of building space. According to EPA, these grocery stores, offices, hotels, and schools achieve significant energy savings with simple steps, such as turning off lights and computers while not in use, setting temperatures that balance comfort and efficiency, and upgrading to more efficient lighting. Energy Star Leaders also demonstrate a corporate commitment to energy efficiency, with involvement at all levels from students to executives.
EPA provides tools to help building owners and managers reduce energy use. The national building energy performance rating system helps building managers rate the efficiency of their buildings on a scale of 1 to 100 points, set goals for improving building efficiency, and document improvements. Energy Star Leaders have either documented a 10 point or greater improvement across all of the buildings within their organizations or have earned an exemplary average rating across all buildings.
Announced in 2005, the Energy Star Challenge encourages building owners and managers to reduce energy use by 10% or more. Commercial and institutional buildings use about $80 billion worth of energy each year and contribute about 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. EPA estimates that if each building owner met this challenge, by 2015 Americans would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to those from 15 million vehicles, while saving about $10 billion.
More information about Energy Star Leaders can be found at www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=news.nr_news#challenge