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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Officials from the Food Marketing Institute are among those gathering here today to help kick off the Energy Star Challenge, initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA is challenging businesses in the grocery industry, as well as many other industries, to shave their energy usage by 10 percent.
According to the EPA, the buildings in which we work, shop, and educate our children use about $80 billion worth of electricity and natural gas each year. These buildings use much of their energy at peak times, helping drive the need for new power generation and more natural gas. They also contribute about 20 percent of our national emissions of greenhouse gases.
EPA, in partnership with business and community leaders, is challenging building owners across the country to improve the efficiency of their buildings by 10 percent or more. EPA estimates that if each building owner took on this challenge, by 2015 Americans would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 MMTCE, equivalent to the emissions from 15 million vehicles, while saving about $10 billion.
The Energy Star Challenge is promoting three important actions:
1. Determine how much energy buildings are using. Systematically tracking building energy use highlights buildings that may be using unnecessary amounts of energy, according to the EPA. The EPA offers a national energy performance rating system for grocery stores and other businesses.
2. Establish efficiency improvement goals. An efficiency improvement goal of 10 percent or greater should be established for a portfolio of buildings as a whole or for as many buildings as possible.
3. Make improvements. EPA will recognize businesses and organizations that make improvements to their buildings and share their results.