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Maine Gets Energy Star Label for Public Utility Commission Building

Release Date: 03/28/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865,

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2005; Release # sr050315

BOSTON - At a ceremony in Augusta, Maine today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the State of Maine with an Energy Star Label for superior energy performance for its Public Utility Commission Building.

"The State of Maine is a national leader in energy efficiency," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of the EPA's New England office, who announced the award. "Maine is leading by example - showing that energy efficiency is good stewardship of public resources, good public policy, and good for the environment."

The Maine PUC Building is the first office building, public or private, to earn the Energy Star Label in the state, and the second building overall to do so. The Shaw’s Supermarket in Augusta received the label in 2003.

The Maine PUC Building uses 35 percent less energy than the average office building of its size. That translates to preventing more than 1.7 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year - the equivalent of taking more than 160 cars off the road - all while saving Maine taxpayers thousands of dollars in energy bills.

Maine has also demonstrated its state-wide commitment to energy performance by becoming one of only six states in the nation to participate in the EPA Energy Star Challenge. The challenge asks participants to do three things: (1) determine how much energy buildings are using; (2) establish efficiency improvement goals of 10% or more; and (3) to make the actual improvements. EPA estimates that if each building owner took this challenge, Americans would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million metric tons of carbon equivalent - the emissions from 15 million cars - while saving about $10 billion.

Maine has committed under the challenge to build on its existing efforts to: measure and track energy use and improve performance in state facilities, design state and publicly-funded school buildings to be as energy efficient as possible, and promote these same goals with building owners and operators throughout the state.

Public Utilities Chairman Thomas Welch, who received the award on behalf of the Commission, said, “I am delighted that the EPA has recognized the dedicated work of many members of our staff, and in particular my administrative director Dennis Keschl, who have taken seriously our obligation in government to lead by example in using energy efficiently. We hope that our efforts can serve as an example to other agencies throughout the state, and to commercial and industrial operations as well.”

The Public Utilities Commission building shows how even older buildings can achieve high energy efficiency with the right combination of technology and good management. Built in 1942, the PUC Building received several important upgrades, including: efficient T-8 lighting and electronic ballasts, occupancy sensors, and a solar hot air wall mounted panel system. Close attention to operating practices reduced energy use further, while at the same time improving indoor air quality and ventilation.

The EPA introduced Energy Star in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce air pollution through increased energy efficiency. The program helps businesses and consumers save energy and money while protecting the environment for future generations. In 2004, Energy Star helped Americans save enough energy to power 24 million homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 21 million cars - all while saving consumers and businesses $10 billion.

The Energy Star label is awarded to buildings that demonstrate superior energy performance. Energy Star's national performance rating system ranks building energy performance on a one to 100 scale based on energy usage per square foot, normalized for weather, climate, occupancy and other factors. Buildings scoring 75 or higher that meet standards for indoor air quality, lighting, ventilation and thermal comfort are eligible for the label.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission promotes energy efficiency through Efficiency Maine, a statewide effort to promote the more efficient use of electricity, help Maine residents and businesses reduce energy costs, and improve Maine’s environment. In 2004, Efficiency Maine spent more than $6.7 million on energy efficiency programs for residents, businesses, builders and low-income customers. Over their lifetime, the measures implemented under these programs will save Maine nearly $13 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 14,000 tons, or the equivalent of taking 2700 cars off the road.

To find out more information on EPA’s Energy Star Challenge visit:

Related Information:
Energy Star
Energy Efficiency