|Morrison Residence Hall to vie in the EPA National Building Competition|
|Tuesday, April 27, 2010|
Morrison Residence Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was selected for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first national competition among buildings to save energy and fight climate change.
In the spirit of popular weight-loss competitions, Morrison will compete against 13 other buildings nationwide to “work off the waste” through improvements in energy efficiency with help from the EPA’s Energy Star program. The building that sheds the most energy waste on a percentage basis will be recognized as the winner of the EPA’s National Building Competition in late October.
“We want to make significant and sustainable improvements in how we occupy, maintain and operate Morrison Residence Hall,” said Chris M. Martin Jr., director of UNC Energy Management.
As it turns out, Carolina will be engaging in a backyard battle of sorts with North Carolina State University, whose Tucker Residence Hall is also part of the EPA competition.
Nearly 200 buildings applied to participate in the National Building Competition, which will judge the energy performance of the 14 finalists from Sept. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2010. The energy use of each building is being monitored with the EPA’s online measurement and tracking tool, Portfolio Manager. Contestants will receive technical assistance from the EPA, as well as energy fitness advice from celebrity trainer Bob Harper. Each building will participate in a mid-point weigh-in and post their results online at the competition Web site. Twitter updates by contestants will also be available at www.twitter.com/EnergyStarBldgs/contestants.
“Buildings of all shapes and sizes are saving money and energy with help from EPA and Energy Star,” said Jean Lupinacci, director of the EPA’s Energy Star Commercial Buildings Program. “We applaud the contestants of EPA’s National Building Competition for taking action to protect the environment and fight climate change.”
According to the EPA, energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. On average, 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. Thousands of businesses and organizations work with the EPA’s Energy Star program and are saving billions of dollars and preventing millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.
Morrison Residence Hall, whose renovation was completed in the fall of 2007, uses a centralized chilled water system and a new heating system. Energy-efficient windows were installed and the common areas on every floor are now well lit. Solar thermal panels mounted on the building’s roof create a source of heating and domestic hot water. These panels were partially funded by the $4 per semester Green Energy Campaign fee UNC students imposed on themselves starting in 2004-2005. This fund is managed by the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee, which also provides funding for lighting upgrades, mechanical system upgrades and promotional materials in support of this competition. UNC’s first energy dashboard presents energy use information about Morrison on site.
Morrison is also home to the sustainability-themed housing community on campus. Students living there participate in programs on energy and sustainability.
Photo: http://urxserve.ur.unc.edu/netpub/server.np?find&catalog=catalog&template=detail.np&field=itemid&op=matches&value=8467&site=Luminosity. Caption: UNC greenhouse gas specialist Daniel Arneman with solar panels on Morrison Residence Hall.