Urban Green Council Announces Winners of 2015 EBie Awards


In an Oscar-style award ceremony held June 22 at the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square, Urban Green Council announced the winners of its 5th annual EBie Awards™, a juried competition that celebrates the accomplishments of building efficiency innovators.

“We are here to celebrate the unsung heroes of building management who spend each day working in the facilities they operate, determining new and innovative ways to make them more efficient,” said Russell Unger, Executive Director of Urban Green Council. “Even though the majority of buildings in this country are more than 10 years old, we often associate sustainable development with big new buildings. Tonight’s winners are doing the real legwork needed to move toward a greener and more efficient future.”

Here are this year’s winners:

  • All-Rounder: Performance Excellence in Multiple Categories
    Stephen Monez, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Engineering, Mount Sinai Health System, Brooklyn, NY
    Steve and his team made a number of impressive improvements in a fully occupied community hospital. Their retrofit included a new CHP system, new boilers, and lighting and control upgrades, along with combined with environmentally friendly materials and an IAQ program. Energy was reduced 27% and patient comfort was enhanced.
  • Smooth Operator: Operations and Maintenance Excellence
    Eric Gregory, Manager of the Sustainable Performance Program, Emory University, Goizueta School of Business, Atlanta, GA
    The School had been LEED EB GOLD back in 2004, but performance was now flagging. Eric and his team replaced BAS control panels and created an alarm system to detect abnormalities in energy rates. The project paid for itself in only 10 months—with savings exceeding expectations.
  • Power to the People: Exceptional Energy Savings
    Andreas Benzing, Principal, a.m. Benzing Architects PLLC, Mamaroneck Passive House, Mamaroneck, NY
    Utilizing known passive house techniques, Benzing and his team were able to achieve a 70% reduction in energy use.
  • Steve Melink, CEO, Melink Corporation, Melink LEED Platinum EB & Net-Zero Energy HQ, Milford, OH
    Melink Corp., already in the business of energy efficiency, put their money where their mouth is by retrofitting their headquarters. Through the use of photovoltaics and operational efficiencies they were able to achieve a 71% reduction in energy source intensity and a Portfolio Manager rating of 99.
  • Verdant Brainiac: Green Renovation Innovation
    Ali Gaylord, Senior Project Manager, BRIDGE Housing Corp., Richmond City Center Apartments, Richmond, CA
    A financial restructuring of the property allowed a gut renovation of this 64-unit affordable housing development. Upgrades included an improved building envelope, new PV solar panels, new lighting, and energy star rated appliances.
  • It Takes A Village: Commercial Tenant Performance Improvements
    Sammie Baker, Senior Property Manager, Parkway Properties, Frost Bank Tower, Austin, TX
    By successfully educating its Frost Tower tenants about simple sustainability strategies and their importance, Sammie and her team now have a scalable strategy for environmental stewardship that can be applied to other buildings. And 77% of Frost Tower’s waste has been diverted from landfills.
  • Take Me to the River: Winning Water Savings
    Richard V. Piacentini, Executive Director, Phipps Conservatory, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA
    In a quest to reduce potable water usage across their entire campus, Richard and his team systematically assessed and rehabilitated water systems through repairs and resealing, and installed automated control boards, timers and level sensors to decrease water waste. Combined, these efforts resulted in a 45% decrease in water consumption.
  • Jury Award
    Tim Trefzer, Sustainability Manager, GWCC Authority, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA
    Georgia World Congress Center is the world’s largest LEED certified convention center. To date, Tim and his team have diverted over 275 tons of single-stream recyclables, 119 tons of organics for composting, and donated over 58 tons of food to local organizations.

The EBies™ (EE-bees, short for Existing Buildings) seek to recognize improved environmental performance in existing buildings among building operators, facilities managers, owners, engineers, retro-commissioning agents and other professionals who conceived and implemented the work. The awards put a spotlight on the leaders who have found replicable solutions that cut energy and water use, measurably reduce waste, make lighting more efficient, engage tenants in green initiatives, and make sustainability improvements across a building portfolio. A complete list of EBie Award categories is here.