In an effort to promote the benefits brought by sustainability measures, the US Green Building Council is staging its own "Battle of the Buildings" competition in Michigan.

The US Green Building Council of West Michigan has announced that it will sponsor an inaugural “Battle of the Buildings” this year, with a view to reducing energy consumption and fostering efficiency in the regional construction industry.

The year-long contest will see commercial buildings participating in the competition vie to achieve the biggest reductions in the amounts of energy they consume.

Organizers have billed it as “an energy reduction war and a crusade against kilowatts,” with contest creator and organizer Cheri Holman comparing it to the recent spate of televised weight loss competitions which have proved to be so popular with viewers.

“This is a ‘Biggest-loser-type’ competition to see who can reduce their energy use the most in 2014,” Holman said. “The point of this is to help carbon emissions and save energy throughout West Michigan and spotlight (area companies) that are leaders in the green building world.”

The competition will call upon participants to reduce energy wastage by ramping up efficiency and introducing energy saving measures. These can include physical upgrades of facilities themselves, improvements to operations and maintenance, and campaigns to encourage the users and occupants of buildings to reduce their individual energy consumption.

Competitors will be judged based on their ability to achieve the greatest reduction in energy use intensity (EUI) during the term of the contest, and the winners of each category will be announced at an energy summit scheduled for 2015.

Holman, an energy reduction manager with Hurst Mechanical and treasurer for the West Michigan chapter of the USGBC,  said the competition was inspired by a nationwide Battle of the Buildings competition held  by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which she had previously helped a number of clients to enter.

Holman believes events of this nature will benefit from being reduced in scale to a specific region as they will enable companies to achieve more recognition from their immediate peers for their efforts and spur greater interest from local residents.

Registration for aspiring competitors will close on March 31, after which categories will be drawn up based on the number and type of buildings entered. According to competition organizers, over 1 million square feet (approx. 92,ooo square metres) in building space has already been entered.