An energy reduction war, a crusade against kilowatts, a barrage against BTU’s!

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition. It is with this spirit that organizations across West Michigan came together with owners and operators to enter the Battle of the Buildings competition. An EPA-derived challenge and recognition program, this challenge for energy use reduction was open to all manners of buildings – commercial, education, public, senior living and industrial buildings.

Participating in this program was voluntary, and organizations like Steelcase, Metro Health Hospital, Huntington Bank, Kendall College of Art and Design and Porter Hills Retirement Communities rose to the challenge.

Serving as a third party validator, Progressive AE worked with participating organizations to review and verify their energy usage documentation (utility bills). The last two years of energy data was compared for the competition, with the difference between 2013 and 2014 energy usage being the measured value to determine winners.

As a final step in the verification process, Progressive AE set up site visits with leading participants in each category to verify that building function and programming had not changed in the last two years. During each site visit Progressive AE representatives interviewed facility managers and conducted tours to verify all space uses and functions. Mechanical and electrical systems, including any recent upgrades, were inspected to ensure proper working order as well as to verify building indoor air quality had not been diminished.

As a final step in the verification process, facility managers were asked about any capital investments, behavior modification or energy conservation measures completed in the last year to help reduce total energy usage in 2014. A common changes verified included:

  • Lighting, including parking lots, replacements from fluorescent to LED or T8 fixtures
  • Installation of occupancy sensors
  • Changing operating schedules and system temperatures in non-occupied spaces
  • Installation of solar panels for utility company payback and electrical utility savings
  • Installation of motor variable frequency drives
  • Preventive maintenance on boiler systems
  • Lowered campus steam distribution operating pressure from 125 psi to 100 psi.
  • Installation of high efficiency condensing boilers
  • High efficiency in-rack cooling for IT rooms
  • Building Management System upgrades

Upon completion, The Michigan Battle of the Buildings saw a combined total reduction equal to 1,149.6 metric tons of CO2e. The equivalent of the Greenhouse gas emissions from 2,737,143 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle or the CO2 emissions of 1,234,801 pounds of coal burned.

To learn more about the Battle of the Buildings, or how Progressive AE can help your organization reach similar savings, please contact Tom Frey, Director of Engineering: or 616.361.2664.