Alabama Team Triumphant in National EPA Energy Savings Competition

Photovoltaic Solar Panels on tiled roofA team from Woodville, AL, has taken first place in an Environmental Protection Agency competition for reducing energy usage.

The five-building team beat out 100 teams and almost 5,500 individual buildings in the fifth annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition: Team Challenge. The team, named “Going Blue for Woodville,” was made up of a town hall, a community center, a chapel, a co-op and a wastewater treatment plant.

To win, the team achieved the greatest reduction in energy usage over a 12-month period: a 25% decrease. One of the buildings involved, the Woodville Chapel, also won the 2015 Top Building award for cutting its energy use by a whopping 68.4%.

Teams from across the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all competed. Collectively, the participants saved over $50 million and decreased usage by an average of 6%. That’s equal to the energy use of more than 37,000 homes. They also prevented more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“[The] EPA’s Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition brings together communities to find important solutions to reduce harmful carbon pollution fueling climate change, save energy, and significantly reduce energy costs in the places where we work, play and learn,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release. “It’s great to see the collaboration and hard work the competition inspires to accomplish energy efficiency measures that will continue to benefit these communities for years to come.”

The Woodville team said it would definitely be entering the next competition to defend its title.

Everyday Energy Conservation
The competition is part of the EPA’s efforts to demonstrate that energy efficiency can save money and benefit the environment without decreased function.

And while many of the buildings that competed underwent more serious retrofitting, people should know that there are numerous ways average residents can cut their energy usage without making major sacrifices — or even putting in too much effort.

Because so many electronic devices now draw energy even when not in use, homeowners can save quite a bit of money (over a hundred dollars each year on average, according to one recent study), by actually pulling the plug on devices rather than putting them in sleep mode.

And programs such as the EPA’s Energy Star certification exist to help homeowners make smart choices when it comes to everything from appliances to light bulbs.

Convection ovens, for example, use less energy than traditional ovens and cook food 25% faster. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 25% less energy than incandescents and last 10 times as long. And simply using a programmable thermostat can lead to a 10% energy savings annually with no decrease in comfort.

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