With 3,000 entries, the competition was the stiffest it has been in its three-year history. The cost savings and percentage of energy reduction for all 3,000 buildings was measured and compared. This year, an elementary school in Bloomfield, N.J., took home the EPA's Energy Star National Building Competition top prize. Here are the details.
* Demarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, was the overall winner and the winner of the K-12 schools category in the competition with a 20 percent energy use reduction and a savings of 52 percent on energy bills in 2012 when compared to 2011.
* The cost savings for the school was nearly $76,000, the EPA reported.
* Demarest's energy savings aspirations began in 2011 when the Bloomfield Public School District hired Energy Star partner Cenergistic to help identify and implement energy savings plans within the schools.
* Under the leadership of principal Mary Todaro, the school reportedly saw a full buy-in by staff of trying to conserve energy by turning off and unplugging all equipment and accessories that were using energy needlessly.
* The school also had a heat timer replaced so that the facility's energy management system was running on a normal schedule and the head custodian began watching the highs and low temperatures in order to shut down boilers when the school did not need to heat the building.
* A number of mechanical maintenance issues have been identified and are being addressed, though the district stressed that it is a process that takes time.
* More than 85 buildings in the competition demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater, the EPA reported. Buildings in the New England region that entered the competition saw an especially large reduction in energy use.
* There were 324 facilities in New England participating in the competition, including Webster Bank's facility in Darien, Conn., which saw an energy use reduction of 26.2 percent. The reduction equals a savings for the bank of $2,000 per year.
* Though it only equalled a 1.8 percent reduction in energy use, the JFK Federal Building in Boston saw a savings of more than $160,000 through the one-year competition.
* Competitors in the competition measured their performance and tracked their building's monthly energy consumption by using EPA's online tracking tool, the agency reported.
* The savings were independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect at the end of the competition.
* According to the EPA, energy use in buildings accounts for almost 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and costs more than $100 billion per year.
* In all, the 3,000 competitors of the Energy Star competition saw a reduction of $50 million on utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions equal to the amount of electricity needed to power more than 43,000 homes.
- Nature & Environment