Sustainability Winners Announced in “Downtown NOLA Energy Challenge”

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NEW ORLEANS — Today the winners of the City’s 2018 Downtown NOLA Energy Challenge, hosted by the City’s Office of Resilience and sustainability, were announced. These awards were given to the leading properties in the Challenge, a competition to save energy and improve New Orleans’ resilience. Dozens of downtown properties – encompassing seventeen million square feet – signed up for this year’s competition. Participants were challenged to track two years’ worth of energy data and find ways to reduce their building energy use.

The winners of this year’s Downtown NOLA Energy Challenge are:

  • General Services Administration (Highest ENERGY STAR Score and Top Energy Savings)
  • Tulane University (Best Tenant Engagement)
  • Hertz Investment Group (Best Energy Reduction Plan)
  • The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (Overall Sustainability).

“Smart energy management makes business sense,” said Councilmember Banks. “It also reduces greenhouse gases, which means healthier families, a more competitive economy, and new green jobs. These local leaders are setting the example in the realm of sustainability.”

On average, 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings across the U.S. is wasted. Regularly tracking utility data such as energy use helps buildings lower their operating expenses and increase their bottom line by better managing their energy use. Buildings that measure their energy data realize 6 percent to 14 percent in energy savings on average over several years, resulting in significant cost savings.

The Downtown NOLA Energy Challenge is a featured action in the City’s Climate Action Strategy, which calls for a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Through the competition, property owners and managers are challenged to monitor and lower their energy use via a free online tool called ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which benchmarks energy usage against local and national peers. In total, forty buildings signed up for the inaugural Energy Challenge and received free technical assistance and training as they sought to optimize their operations.

The Convention Center’s President and General Manager Michael Sawaya said, “We are extremely excited to be recognized by the City for our efforts to make our facility more energy efficient and become more responsible stewards of our environment. Our event attendees expect as much from a world-class city like New Orleans, and we are proud to help drive sustainability in our tourism economy.”

In 2019, the NOLA Energy Challenge will be expanded to include all of Orleans Parish. Buildings of all types (except single-family homes) will be eligible to compete to become high performing, healthy and profitable. Interested property owners and managers can register at www.nola.gov/EnergyChallenge. There is no fee to participate, and free benchmarking and energy efficiency training will be offered to competitors by the City of New Orleans.

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About the Office of Resilience and Sustainability

Using the City’s resilience strategy, Resilient New Orleans, as a guide, the Office of Resilience and Sustainability (ORS) works with other City departments and agencies to advise on the strategic pursuit of comprehensive resilience priorities across environmental, social, economic, and infrastructural improvement goals. ORS also leads the outreach efforts associated with resilience-building projects and the management of the projects associated with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – National Disaster Resilience Competition award. Above all, ORS leads the strategic combination of efforts to achieve multiple benefits for public, private and nonprofit initiatives in New Orleans.


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