The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sponsored the first national energy efficiency contest – a “Biggest Loser” competition to see which commercial building can shed the most energy waste and be declared the most efficient in the country.
The EPA is keeping tabs on 14 final contestants until August 31st, among which are two hotels. They include the Courtyard Marriott San Diego Downtown and the Sheraton Austin Hotel. The 14 buildings also include schools, college dorms, hotels, department stores, a mall, a healthcare center and office buildings. They were selected as finalists from a pool of 200 participants.
EPA’s National Building Competition’s 14 finalists will be judged on their energy performance from September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010. The energy use of each building is being monitored with EPA’s Energy Star online energy measurement and tracking tool, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Television personality Bob Harper will provide energy fitness tips for the contestants through a series of videos that will be available on the contest website. The winner will be declared at EPA’s final weigh-in on October 26, 2010.
The Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown is managed by Denver-based Sage Hospitality Resources. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Downtown is housed in one of the city’s most prominent landmark buildings, the historic San Diego Trust & Savings Bank. The hotel, which currently has an Energy Star rating of 63, plans to win the competition by making key operational changes, including the installation of water restricting devices, motion sensing lighting controls in stairwells and the replacement of all incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs.
Energy Star Challenge
“We are thrilled and honored to be a part of the EPA National Building Competition,” said Jody Blackinton, general manager of the hotel. “There are definitely unique challenges to improving the energy efficiency of a historic property like this and we look forward to seeing how we measure up against other buildings across the nation.”
“Sustainability is good business, plain and simple,” said Chris Alto, the Sheraton’s general manager. “Not only does it help global efforts to make the planet a cleaner place to live, but it also creates meaningful cost reductions for our bottom line. HEI Hotels & Resorts has been a leading proponent of ‘green initiatives’ for some time now, as evidenced by being named a 2010 Energy Star Partner of the Year. Our goal is to continue this mission.”
“Buildings of all shapes and sizes are saving money and energy with help from EPA and Energy Star,” said Jean Lupinacci, director of EPA’s Energy Star Commercial Buildings Program. “We applaud the contestants of EPA’s National Building Competition for taking action to protect the environment and fight climate change.”
In addition to showcasing contestants’ efforts toward energy efficiency, the competition is intended to put the Energy Star program in the spotlight. More than 17,000 companies, schools, colleges, hospitals, municipalities, utilities and other organizations participate in the program.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States account for 72 percent of electricity consumption, 39 percent of energy use and 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
Commercial buildings are responsible for 17 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year, says the EPA, which estimates that on average 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted.
“It’s time for buildings to tighten their belts and we’re happy to help them go on an energy diet,” said Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation.
We, at EcoGreenHotel, know the challenges involved to become both an energy efficient and green hotel. Therefore, we’re rooting for both the Courtyard Marriott San Diego Downtown and the Sheraton Austin Hotel and wish them good luck!