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By Juan Aguilar on Apr 27, 2010 with no responses

“Skinnier” Buildings: EPA Announces Energy Conservation Competition

Courtyard by Marriott in San Diego and 13 other buildings will vie for bragging rights as they try to trim their energy bills.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched a competition today aimed at streamlining buildings that are presently deemed energy monoliths.

Capitalizing on the popularity of NBC’s reality show “The Biggest Loser” which pits beefy contestants against each other to see who can lose the most weight over a given time span, Energy Star will set energy hogs against each other competing to reduce their energy usage.

“We came up with the idea that most everyone could relate to the idea of losing weight, and that having U.S. buildings try to shed their energy waste made sense,” Maura Beard, a spokeswoman for the E.P.A.’s Energy Star program, told the New York Times in an e-mail message. “We felt people could follow the contestants, relate to their efforts and encourage similar changes in buildings across the country.”

The competition is less about implementing 21st century technology than far simpler steps-like turning off lights.

“We didn’t want the competition to be about large capital purchases and buying expensive solar panels and boilers,” says Beard. “We wanted to do it through behavior and operational changes.”

Energy Star’s calls this National Building Competition “Working Off the Waste”.  From 200 applicants, 14 contestants were selected including Sears in Glen Burnie, Md., a J.C. Penney in Los Angeles, Courtyard by Marriott in San Diego, the Maplewood Mall in St. Paul, Minn., Morrison Residence Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Winners will be selected by comparing the greatest percentage of energy reduction from September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2010.

Unlike the NBC version, the only prize that contestants stand to win is bragging right- and lower energy bills.