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New Jersey School Cuts Energy Use 52%, Wins EPA’s Building Competition

April 24, 2013 By Linda Hardesty

Demarest SchoolDemarest Elementary School in Bloomfield, NJ, has won the Environmental Protection Agency’s third-annual Energy Star National Building Competition.

More than 3,000 schools, businesses, and government buildings across the country competed to see which could reduce its energy use the most in one year. Demarest Elementary School won the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Battle of the Buildings competition by demonstrating a 52 percent energy use reduction. Together, competitors in this year’s competition cut their energy costs by more than $50 million and saved more than three billion kBtus of energy.

The top overall finishers and their percent-based reductions in energy use include:

  • Demarest Elementary School, Bloomfield, N.J. (K-12 School) 52.1%
  • AAFES Ft. Hood Warrior Way Express Store B85001, Ft. Hood, Tex. (Other building type) 48.5%
  • Toms River Verizon Wireless, Toms River, N.J. (Retail store) 43.1%
  • Shamrock Springs Elementary School, Westfield, Ind. (K-12 school) 42.1%
  • Hemphill Water Treatment Plant & Pumping Station, Atlanta, Ga. (Other building type) 40.6%
  • Kmart store #4863, Gillette, Wyo. (Retail store) 40.2%
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse, Newark, NJ (Courthouse) 36.8%
  • Craigmont High School, Memphis, Tenn. (K-12 school) 34.6%
  • San Antonio Federal Building, San Antonio, Tex. (Office) 34.4%
  • Bloomfield Middle School, Bloomfield, NJ (K-12 school) 34.3%
  • North Carolina Area Health Education Center Building, Chapel Hill, NC (Office) 34.3%
  • Walsh & Associates, St. Louis, Mo. (Warehouse) 34.0%
  • Kmart store #9348, Norridge, Ill. (Retail store) 33.4%
  • Customer Care and Aftersales, Ypsilanti, Mich. (Warehouse) 31.0%
  • Kmart store #7499, Mt. Vernon, Ohio (Retail store) 30.8%

Demarest identified and addressed a number of overlooked mechanical issues, including replacing a heat timer associated with the control system, which allowed it to run on a more energy efficient schedule. In addition to this mechanical fix, the head custodian adjusted boiler operations based on outside temperature and changes in weather, and adjusted the hall lighting schedule so that lights were dimmed in the early morning and after students were dismissed. The staff also took control of energy management in their immediate areas by turning off and unplugging electronic devices.

Eighty-nine buildings in the competition demonstrated energy use reductions of 20 percent or greater. In addition to energy reductions, nearly 400 competitors also tracked and reduced their water consumption, with help from the EPA’s WaterSense program. Leading the pack was Webster Bank’s Oak St. Office in Brockton, Mass., which reduced its water use by 80 percent.

The 2012 Energy Star National Building Competition measured energy performance for the entire 2012 calendar year. Competitors tracked their buildings’ monthly energy consumption using EPA’s online energy tracking tool, Energy Star Portfolio Manager. The energy use reductions for each top finisher were verified by an independently licensed professional engineer or registered architect at the conclusion of the competition.



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