Photo courtesy of UNC Chapel Hill

The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star National Building Competition — or as we and the rest of the world has been calling it, The Biggest Energy Loser Competition — has announced a winner! First place goes to the Morrison Residence Hall at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill for a whopping 36% energy reduction and a total energy savings of about $250,000 just this year. The competition was launched on April 27, 2010 and counting all the progress from the 14 teams — or buildings — that competed across the country, the total came to $950,000 in savings.

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Photo courtesy of UNC Chapel Hill

UNC Chapel Hill’s Chris Martin, director of energy management at the school and the efficiency team leader, told the New York Times that their savings came from a $30,000 investment. The team — affectionately named the Watt-Busters — saved the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 90 homes in a year. Their savings came over a mere 6 month period which means their total yearly energy savings — if they keep up the good work — would be an amazing half a million dollars. Talk about return on your investment. The investment surely came back quickly and as Martin said, “The payback is on the order of months, not years.”

The competition offered no reward, but as you can see the energy savings is reward enough. Morrison Residence Hall’s largest savings came from adjusting their heating and cooling system to run more moderately in moderate temperature, insuring that students couldn’t blast their air conditioners when it wasn’t needed. They also helped change energy habits, optimized their solar water heating system and made lighting improvements. UNC Chapel Hill is committed to energy savings beyond the competition as well and have totaled an incredible $4 million in energy bill savings over the past year alone when you add improvements campus wide together. These sky high numbers and the seeming ease at which the savings was made has us thinking, why wait for a competition? Now that there’s cold hard evidence that your investments come back — almost ten fold! — let’s all get to work on our own Biggest Energy Loser competitions.

+ The Biggest Energy Loser Competition

+ UNC Chapel Hill<

Via The New York Times