Tuesday, August 23, 2011

State Capitol named energy finalist; reduces energy use for three consecutive months

This article is the first of many more guest blogs from the House Majority Staff Office (HMSO).

by Brandon Masuoka of HMSO

The Hawaii State Capitol recently earned special recognition in an ongoing, national energy savings competition that features more than 200 entrants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named the Capitol as an energy-saving finalist in the office category in the 2011 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings, according to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism State Energy Office.

L-R: Brandon Masuoka, Paulette Abe and Merissa Sakuda are the 
building coordinators for the iConserve Energy Initiative Hawaii.

The national competition features 245 buildings across 33 states and the District of Columbia in an energy-saving competition. The building that sheds the most energy waste will be declared the winner in November.

"We've received strong support from EPA's ENERGY STAR program and look forward to even greater success in the remaining months of the competition," said Estrella Seese, Acting Energy Program Administrator for the State Energy Office, in July.

Hawaii's state departments are poised to save millions of dollars with energy conservation this year, and those savings can be used to bring services to the people of Hawaii.

The Capitol recently reduced its energy use for three consecutive months in February, March, and April compared to the same timeframe in 2010, according to the most current state data available.

The Capitol has cut its energy use through a variety of strategies, including mechanical, lighting, and plumbing upgrades, efficient operations, and an occupant behavior change campaign, according to the State Energy Office.
In June, officials with the Hawaii iConserve Energy Initiative -- a conservation program highlighting state employees using personal energy-saving behaviors at work -- celebrated with a Capitol rally that drew hundreds of conservation advocates. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, House and Senate members, department heads, media reporters, 50 Green Champion energy-conservation volunteers, and clean energy businesses, among others, attended the rally.


L-R: Brandon Masuoka, 4th floor coordinator; Paulette Abe, Overall and Chamber Coordinator; and Merissa Sakuda, 3rd floor coordinator of the Capitol building iConserve Energy Initiative Hawaii.

The iConserve Initiative -- spearheaded by the Department of Accounting and General Services, energy service company partner NORESCO, and the State Energy Office – has encouraged Capitol employees to change their daily routines to cut electricity, such as:

• Turning off unnecessary lights;
• Hibernating or shutting down computers when leaving for long periods;
• Turning off, unplugging, or removing personal energy-guzzling devices; and
• Closing office doors.

Last year, in partnership with DBEDT's Lead by Example energy efficiency program, state departments cut total electric consumption by 2.8 percent from 2009 and saved more than $20 million in energy costs statewide. The challenge is to surpass that $20 million amount this year in an effort to bring more services to the people of Hawaii, according to Gov. Abercrombie.

The state's energy efforts have been documented by several news outlets. Here are the Web links:


Also, here's the list of top contenders and complete midpoint results for all competitors in the 2011 National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings. For additional information please go to the Hawaii State Capitol Building Facebook Page or http://www.noresco.com/hi.

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