LA School Wins EPA Energy ‘Battle’


For the second year in a row, an elementary school has taken first place in a national competition aimed at slashing energy usage in the commercial building sector.

Claiborne Elementary School in Baton Rouge, LA, bested more than 3,000 buildings across the country in the 2013 Energy Star National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings by reducing its energy usage by 45.9 percent and cutting costs by $114,499 in 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced.

The 94,698-square-foot school opened its doors in August 2011.

Last year, Demarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, NJ, won the competition by chopping some 52 percent off its energy usage.

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year, EPA said.

Participants in the 2013 competition saved more than $20 million and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 metric tons—equal to the annual energy use of nearly 18,000 homes, EPA said.

2013 Battle of the Buildings

Participants in the fourth year of the competition saved more than $20 million and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 metric tons—equal to the annual energy use of nearly 18,000 homes, according to the EPA.

The average cost savings and GHG emissions reduction per building was more than $21,000 and more than 121 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), respectively.

Occupant Efforts, Controls Optimized

In order to become the “biggest loser,” Claiborne Elementary enlisted the help of students and teachers.

Occupants adjusted thermostats; kept doors and windows closed when heat and air conditioning were in use; turned off lights when they were the last to leave a room; and made sure all electronic devices were shut off at the end of the day.

The school also fine-tuned automated controls of HVAC and lighting systems, EPA said.

A wrap-up report on the competition will be available on EPA’s competition website soon, according to the agency. It will include details on the strategies and types of energy-efficient improvements each team used during the showdown.

Other Top Finishers

Hillside Center II, an office building in Columbia, MD, weighed in second in this year’s competition, chopping 37.1 percent off its energy usage and saving $30,428 last year.

Demarest Elementary School
Scott Collins, Bloomfield School District / EPA

The 81-year-old Demarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, NJ, won the 2012 competition, beating more than 3,000 other commercial, governmental and institutional buildings.

Coming in third was Lake Local-Lake High School/Wellness Center in Uniontown, OH. The building reduced energy usage by 36.2 percent and saved $263,428.

Other top overall finishers and their percent-based reductions in energy use were:

  • UNC-Chapel Hill Bioinformatics Building (Chapel Hill, NC), 35.8 percent;
  • High Construction Company Building 105 (Mechanicsburg, PA), 35.3 percent;
  • JCPenney (Shawnee, OK), 33.9 percent;
  • Studebaker Elementary School (Des Moines, IA), 31.9 percent;
  • McCombs Middle School (Des Moines, IA), 29.7 percent;
  • Eastman Chemical Company Building B-470 (Kingsport, TN), 29.6 percent;
  • Eastman Chemical Company Building B-469 (Kingsport, TN), 29.6 percent;
  • South Greene High School (Greeneville, TN), 29.2 percent;
  • Fourth Walnut Centre (Cincinnati, OH), 29.2 percent;
  • DeBusk Elementary School (Greeneville, TN), 29.1 percent;
  • University of Florida's Physical Plant Division Central Stores (Gainesville, FL), 29.0 percent; and
  • West Middle School (Shelbyville, KY), 28.9 percent.

The Competition

The fourth annual competition measured energy performance over the entire 2013 calendar year.

bioinformatics building

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Bioinformatics Building came in fourth in the 2013 contest by slashing energy use by 35.8 percent.

Competitors tracked their building's monthly energy consumption using the EPA's online energy tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

The energy reductions for each top finisher were verified by an independently licensed professional engineer or registered architect at the conclusion of the competition, the agency noted.

EPA invites interested teams to register for the 2014 competition before May 16.


Tagged categories: Building envelope; Building owners; Energy codes; Energy efficiency; Energy Star; EPA; Good Technical Practice

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