EPA launches annual Energy Star National Building Competition
Washington — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched the 2012 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings with a record 3,200 buildings across the country going head to head to improve energy efficiency, lower utility costs and protect health and the environment.
Commercial buildings in the United States are responsible for about 20% of the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion annually in energy bills. In 2011, the 245 participants saved $5.2 million on their utility bills and prevented nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, equal to the emissions from the electricity used by more than 3,600 homes a year.
“This year the number of teams committing to increase energy efficiency through the Energy Star Battle of the Buildings is larger than ever before — more than ten times as many as last year. We’re expecting record energy savings as more and more buildings cut back on their energy use," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We wish the best to the thousands of teams competing, but we know the big winners will be the American people, who will benefit from the innovative ideas that emerge from the competition. As in years past, these ideas will translate into new ways we can all cut energy use, save money on our power bills, and reduce the carbon pollution that is changing our climate."
More than 30 different types of commercial buildings are facing off in this year’s National Building Competition. The competitors range from a Kmart store on the island of St. Thomas to a crime lab in Phoenix to a federal office building in Nome, Alaska. The number of participants in the National Building Competition has jumped from 14 buildings in 2010, the competition’s first year, to 245 in 2011 to over 3,200 this year.
Competitors use EPA’s Energy Star online tool, Portfolio Manager, to measure and track their buildings’ monthly energy consumption.
Walmart unveils 100th solar installation in California
San Diego — Walmart has completed its 100th solar installation in California, at a store on College Avenue in San Diego. After launching its solar pilot program in May 2007, Walmart strengthened its commitment to renewable energy in the state of California last year when it announced plans to expand its solar portfolio to more than 75% of its stores in California, approximately 130 stores, by the end of 2013. There are now 100 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in California using traditional and thin film solar installations.
By working with SolarCity, the company’s focus on solar power has generated more than 3,000 contract construction jobs in California. Based in San Mateo, Calif., SolarCity is responsible for the installation, management and maintenance of 70 of the 100 new solar power systems.
The total combined solar efforts in California are expected to:
- Provide 10 to 30% of each facility’s total electricity needs;
- Generate up to 70 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy per year, which is the equivalent of powering more than 5,400 homes; and
- Avoid producing more than 21,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is the equivalent of taking approximately 4,100 cars off the road.
"At Walmart, we believe sustainability is about living better," said Kimberly Sentovich, senior VP of the Pacific Division for Walmart. "By using one of California’s greatest resources – sunshine – and employing renewable technology with our California-based partners, we will continue developing solutions that are both good for the environment and good for business."
PGA Tour Superstore to open in New Jersey
Roswell, Ga. — PGA Tour Superstore announced plans to open a location in Paramus, N.J. The store, scheduled to open later this year, is PGA Tour’s 15th location.
The PGA superstores are owned and operated by Golf & Tennis Pro Shop, whose controlling owner and chairman is Arthur M. Blank, retired Home Depot co-founder and owner of the Atlanta Falcons.
PGA Tour Superstore provides an array of goods and services, including personalized golf lessons; seminars conducted by certified golf professionals using state-of-the-art teaching technologies; golf club and ball fittings; club repair and re-gripping; and tennis racquet restringing. The store experience also includes performance practice bays with swing analysis; eight swing simulators for lessons and club fittings; and a 2,500-sq.-ft.putting green.