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Mayor Challenges Businesses to Join Energy-Efficiency Contest

Monday September 21, 2009

Also announces first city-owned building to earn Energy Star label

Promising that “going green saves green,” Mayor Jerry Abramson today encouraged business owners and building managers to join a yearlong energy efficiency contest. The second annual Louisville Kilowatt Crackdown requires commercial buildings to report monthly energy usage and encourages facilities to figure out ways to become more efficient.

“The Kilowatt Crackdown is designed to show businesses that thoughtful changes in a building’s energy use can make a big difference in the budget,” Abramson said. “Improving efficiency isn’t just the right thing to do for the environment; it’s often the right thing to do for the ledger sheet.”

Abramson announced the kickoff of the new contest in front of the first city-owned building to earn the Energy Star label – the old jail building at 6th and Liberty streets.

The federal program recognizes buildings that rate among the top 25 percent of facilities of similar use across the country for energy performance.

This year’s Kilowatt Crackdown had 240 participating buildings; it will be complete at the end of the year. Energy savings are still being tabulated, but building managers report they’ve already seen a difference in their monthly energy bills.

“In 2008, we reduced our energy usage by 16 percent, and this year we’re on pace to drop another 15 percent,” said Dayna Neumann, vice president of FetterGroup, a participant in the Kilowatt Crackdown. “We expect to save $60,000 on our energy bills this year, and for a small business in a tight economy, that’s an extraordinary savings.”

According to EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, commercial buildings use $200 billion worth of electricity and natural gas annually and are responsible for nearly 50 percent of national emissions of greenhouse gases.

Three commercial real estate associations – the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) – partnered with the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Metro Government to create the Louisville Energy Alliance (LEA). LEA is sponsoring the 12-month Kilowatt Crackdown.

LEA and ENERGY STAR will provide all the necessary tools and training – free of charge – so building managers may properly assess their buildings’ energy usage and determine ways to make improvements. LG&E has agreed to assist Kilowatt Crackdown participants. The highest-performing buildings and those showing the most improvement in efficiency will receive awards for their work.

To assist citizens and businesses in making energy improvements, the LEA will sponsor Energy Efficiency Resource Sessions on October 29. The sessions will be open to the public, and may be helpful for buildings new to the 2010 Kilowatt Crackdown. Topics will include learning to benchmark energy use in ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager; tax credit and incentive information; and using utility audit and commercial rebate programs.

In 2007, ENERGY STAR adopted Louisville as a new model partner – one of only a few in the country. That specialized partnership launched an aggressive effort to make Metro Government facilities more energy efficient. The city then launched its Go Green Louisville! initiative, which includes goals of reducing energy and fuel consumption. Louisville’s efforts are outlined on ENERGY STAR’s website, encouraging other cities to follow Louisville’s lead (www.energystar.gov/challenge).

“Louisville is doing a great job of leading by example,” said Leslie Cook, Program Manager with EPA's ENERGY STAR Program. “The Louisville Kilowatt Crackdown reaches out to the business community and truly makes them partners in the effort to protect our environment while cutting energy costs."

To register a building, visit LEA’s website at www.louisvilleenergyalliance.org.