Boise's Newest Competition: Which Building Is Most Energy Efficient?

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Boise Mayor Dave Bieter kicks off Kilowatt Crackdown

Nearly four dozen of Boise's high-profile comercial buildings have agreed to participate in a unique year-long competition. In something called "Kilowatt Crackdown," the buildings will vie to see who is the most energy efficient.

With Boise Plaza - one of the competitors - as a backdrop, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter joined Idaho Power, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Boise, and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance to kick off the competition.

Bieter pointed to some of Boise's other high profile projects -albeit public efforts - as energy-saving role models.

“Between City Hall and the Main Library, that’s $250,000," said Bieter. "So that’s why we know, from our own experience ... [the Kilowatt Crackdown] just makes good business sense.”

The Kilowatt Crackdown will use Energy Star ratings as benchmarks. Energy Star - a measurement of the size, occupants, and energy-consuming appliances and hardware inside the structure - will rate the buildings against best and worst possible scenarios for its type.

Over the next year, building owners have agreed to analyze that data, with the help of Kilowatt Crackdown’s free consulting and assistance, and develop individual action plans which, in turn, they'll implement to save more energy and lower operating expenses.

Scott Schoenherr, a developer for Rafanelli & Nahas Real Estate Development who worked to update the Boise Plaza, acknowledged that the landmark building had already been updated, including nearly half the building's fixtures.

“This building is 360,000 square feet. If we could save 25-cents per foot a year, that’s $90,000—that’s real money,” said Schoenherr, “Every time we have an expert come through and look at our systems, we always learn. And that’s really what we were looking to do here.“

The contest will end in May of 2014, when the most improved buildings and structures with the highest Energy Star performance ratings will be recognized.

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