University of Central Florida wins "Battle of the Buildings"

The University of Central Florida has won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2011 "Battle of the Buildings" contest by cutting energy usage in one of its campus facilities by 63.2 percent.

Parking Lot C on Central Florida's Orlando campus was among 245 commercial facilities in 33 states and the District of Columbia to take part in the competition to save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions. Five of the top 10 finishers in the Battle were education facilities.

The university achieved its energy savings by replacing 424 150-watt with high pressure sodium light fixtures in the parking structure's interior with T-5 fluorescent lighting, and by replacing high pressure sodium lighting on the garage's top deck with LED lighting. The upgrades reduced energy costs by $34,907, prevented 258 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and resulted in better visibility for users of the facility.

The energy improvements "demonstrate that significant opportunities exist to save energy in structures that are largely unoccupied, such as parking garages and warehouses," the EPA says in its wrap-up report on the competition. "...These buildings should not be forgotten in our efforts to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

For buildings to be eligible for the Battle of the Buildings competition, they had to an Energy Star partner. The competition measured a facility's energy use intensity (the amount of energy a building uses in one year divided by its total floor space) and compared one year (Sept. 1, 2010 to Aug. 31, 2011) with the previous year (Sept. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2010). The winner of the Battle was the facility that had the greatest percentage reduction in energy use intensity.

Other education facilities that finished among the top 10 in energy savings:

  • Twinsburg High School and Sports Complex, Twinsburg, Ohio. The facility reduced its energy consumption by 46.3 percent, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2,412 metric tons and resulting in annual cost savings of $505,323.
  • Polaris Career Center, Middleburg Heights, Ohio. The center reduced energy consumption by 43.4 percent. It reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1,071 metric tons and slashed annual energy costs by $220,902.
  • Hartman Elementary School, Wylie, Texas. It reduced energy consumption by 43.2 percentage, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 167 metric tons and resulting in annual cost savings of $26,271.
  • Kokomo High School, Kokomo, Ind. The school's energy consumption dropped by 32.3 percent, preventing 1,816 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and cutting energy costs by $442,338 a year.

Read more about the Battle of the Buildings.

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