It may not look different than most parking garages, but UCF’s “green” parking structure is reducing energy costs and helping to fight climate change.
Armed with energy-efficient lighting, the garage is a competitor in this year’s national “Battle of the Buildings,” sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Parking Garage C is one of 245 buildings selected for the EPA’s ENERGY STAR National Building Competition and is the only stand-alone parking structure to take part in the two-year-old competition. The garage is located on the east side of UCF’s main campus, near Classroom Building I.
“We believe it’s important to be proactive in reducing energy consumption and demonstrating our commitment to campus sustainability,” said Kris Singh, director of UCF Parking and Transportation Services. “Garage C is the first of its kind in the competition and a good starting point to implement further ‘green’ initiatives in other structures at UCF.”
The competition compares buildings’ energy use between two yearlong periods by measuring their energy use intensity (EUI), which represents the energy consumed by a building relative to its size.
The winning building will be the one that demonstrates the greatest percentage-based reduction in EUI from Sept. 1, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2011.
Participants in this year’s contest include hotels, museums and schools. They’ll be narrowed in June to 14 finalists with the most energy savings. A final winner will be announced in November.
For the competition, participants are measuring their buildings’ monthly energy use, making improvements to their structure’s energy performance and tracking their progress.
At UCF, the Department of Sustainability & Energy Management is working with Parking and Transportation Services to make Garage C as efficient as possible by performing retrofits of older equipment.
The garage minimized its energy consumption by nearly 60 percent in 2010, with a 15 percent reduction to its EUI.
All of the garage’s interior lights were replaced with T5 fluorescent bulbs that use less energy and improve light quality. Timers and light sensors also were installed.
“Our participation in the EPA’s competition reaffirms our commitment to promoting energy savings at UCF,” said David Norvell, UCF’s director of Sustainability & Energy Management. “In addition to the chance to compete, the program challenges us to investigate new ways to reduce our energy consumption.”
According to the EPA, commercial buildings account for almost a fifth of U.S. energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion a year. An average of 30 percent of energy used by commercial properties is wasted, the agency says.
UCF is taking steps to become more energy efficient every day. UCF requires its new buildings to be LEED certified, and existing buildings are being renovated with sustainability in mind. Energy-efficient lighting fixtures are being installed throughout the campus. Departments across campus also teach students and faculty and staff members how to reduce consumption.
To learn more about Battle of the Buildings, go to www.energystar.gov/BattleOfTheBuildings.
For more on UCF’s efforts to go “green,” visit http://sustainable.ucf.edu.