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Mayor Biskupski Recognizes Business Leadership in Enhancing Energy Efficiency in Salt Lake City Buildings

Photos by Kyle Strayer

Today, Mayor Jackie Biskupski honored select Salt Lake City businesses, building owners, and managers with the 2017 Mayor’s Skyline Challenge Awards – an annual public recognition of organizations that have taken robust action in enhancing the energy performance of their buildings and contributing to the City’s air quality and general sustainability.

The award winners of the third annual event are: The Boston Building; Goldman Sachs Group; VCBO Architecture; XMission; Zions Bank; and Dominion Energy.

“The Skyline Challenge Awards is a high point in the year for the City and our Department of Sustainability, as it allows us to reflect on the energy efficiency work so many of our businesses are focused on,” said Mayor Biskupski. “We can look back at the previous year, as well, and point the progress that was made—new buildings that were benchmarked, money that was saved, and Energy Star scores that improved.”

Launched in May 2014, the Skyline Challenge encourages organizations across Salt Lake City and Utah to proactively improve the energy performance of their buildings and enhance their environmental and economic impact.



Mayor Biskupski recognizes leadership in energy efficiency at the 2017 Skyline Challenge awards.


The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 30 percent of the average commercial building’s energy consumption is wasted through inefficient building operation.

By participating in the Skyline Challenge, local organizations are invited to attend educational workshops, and to receive guidance on best practices and resources for evaluating their building’s energy use. Skyline Challenge participants set energy savings goals and undertake energy efficiency projects, which they may then nominate for recognition at the annual Skyline Challenge Awards luncheon.

Without further adieu, here are the winners of the 2017 Mayor’s Skyline Challenge . . . 

The Boston Building: 2017 Project of the Year

Boston Building Skyline Awards

Mayor Biskupski recognized the Boston Building with a Skyline Challenge 2017 Project of the Year award for its leadership in energy efficiency, specifically the deployment of an energy sub-metering system.

The 109-year-old Boston Building, which is owned by Unico Properties and managed by Hamilton Partners, has earned the 2017 Project of the Year award for its deployment of an energy sub-metering system. Working with building manager Hamilton Partners, Unico Properties implemented Energy Intelligence Systems (EIS) software in the Boston Building, which allows the property management and engineering teams to track the building’s energy use in real time using 5‐minute interval data.

This software has led to the identification and implementation of numerous energy saving strategies such as night shutdown, delayed morning start‐up, and afternoon energy coasting. The reduction in energy consumption that resulted from the implementation of this energy sub-metering system has also led to the Boston Building’s Energy Star certification score of 80, as well as its current effort to receive LEEDv4 for Existing Buildings Gold certification. The energy sub-metering project undertaken in the Boston Building demonstrates that even one of Salt Lake City’s oldest buildings is capable of being a high energy performer, which is why Salt Lake City is proud to award the Boston Building the Skyline Challenge 2017 Project of the Year award.

The Goldman Sachs Group: 2017 Tenant Leadership

Goldman Sachs Skyline Awards 2017

Goldman Sachs won a Skyline Challenge award in 2017 for its Tenant Leadership for its many commitments to energy efficiency firm-wide.

In 2005, the Goldman Sachs Group formed its Environmental Policy Framework (EPF), which was updated in 2015 to include a goal of reducing absolute energy use across its occupied operationally-controlled facilities by at least 10% by 2020 from a 2013 baseline.  As an anchor tenant at 222 South Main street in Salt Lake City, the firm achieve LEED Gold status in the fit-out of floors 7-12 in 2012, and LEED Platinum status for the 6th floor in 2014.

At Goldman Sachs’ newest Salt Lake City offices at 111 Main, the firm uses high-efficiency LED lighting, daylight harvesting, and occupancy sensors to reduce lighting density by a factor of 50% relative to ASHRAE 90.1 2007 standards. Across the entire firm, Goldman Sachs has announced a target investment of $2 billion in their facilities for renewable power, energy efficiency, and other green operational investments. Additionally, Goldman Sachs’ Salt Lake City offices presented to a group of 40 Project Skyline participants in April 2017 about why the firm has made formal energy efficiency commitments part of its corporate structure, and the positive impacts of those efforts. Because of the firm’s ambitious company-wide energy reduction goals, as well as the significant energy efficiency projects it’s spearheaded in its Salt Lake City offices, Salt Lake City formally recognizes The Goldman Sachs Group with the Skyline Challenge 2017 Tenant Leadership award.

 VCBO Architecture: 2017 Employee Engagement

VCBO Skyline Award 2017

VCBO Architecture led the way with an employee engagement program which reduced energy use and raised its Energy Star score from 77 to 83.

In 2016, VCBO Architecture successfully implemented a wide range of behavioral energy conservation actions in its offices which resulted in an increase in the firm’s Energy Star score from 77 to 83.  Lead by the firm’s in-house Green Team, employees of VCBO Architecture installed LED bulbs in their task-lighting lamps, implemented power-saving settings on their electronics such as automatic hibernation modes and scheduled wake-up times, and installed occupancy-sensor task lighting at employee work stations. These actions, paired with frequent monitoring of energy use using Portfolio Manager and ongoing employee conservation actions, resulted in the significant 6-point increase of the firm’s Energy Star score.

The energy conservation efforts of VCBO Architecture are one part of a broad range of sustainability efforts lead by the firm’s Green Team; the firm provides UTA passes for employees, bike racks to encourage active transportation, and issues weekly Green Team emails for the firm’s entire staff. VCBO Architecture has demonstrated that low- and no-cost behavioral energy conservations actions, implemented regularly by an engaged and committed staff, can result in a substantial improvement in a building’s energy performance. For these reasons, Salt Lake City recognizes VCBO Architecture with the Skyline Challenge 2017 Employee Engagement award.

 XMission: 2017 Highest Energy Star Score

Xmission Skyline Awards 2017

XMission scored a perfect Energy Star score of 100, earning them a 2017 Skyline Challenge Award, reduced energy bills, and much more. Congratulations!

XMission, a Utah-based internet service provider, implemented a project to upgrade the cooling infrastructure of the company’s Salt Lake City-based data center which resulted in the facility achieving a perfect Energy Star score of 100. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star scoring system accounts for a facility’s size, occupancy, activities, location in the United States, and energy consumption, and compares these factors with other buildings that match these criteria, resulting in an Energy Star score ranging from 1-100; a score of 50 means that a building performs better than 50% of its peers. XMission’s Energy Star score of 100 signifies that with regard to energy performance, the Utah-based firm is virtually peerless.

One of the ways that XMission achieved this Energy Star score was by undertaking a cooling system upgrade in the company’s data center. The firm notes that efficient heat extraction techniques throughout the data center industry have traditionally been poor. XMission adopted a new technique in their system that uses aisle containment airflow, which directs cool air into data center hardware and extracts ejected hot air with much greater efficiency. Because XMission has continued to implement energy efficiency projects in its facilities and has ultimately achieved a remarkable Energy Star score of 100, Salt Lake City is proud to recognize XMission with the Skyline Challenge Award for 2017 Highest Energy Star Score.

 Zions Bank: 2017 Benchmarking Champion

Zions Bank Skyline Awards 2017

Zions Bank is a leader in energy efficiency across its many buildings and operations. We’re proud to recognize your efforts with a 2017 Skyline Challenge award!

As part of the company’s holistic energy management efforts, Zions Bank took actions to measure the energy consumption of 23 of its buildings located in Salt Lake County. Known as energy benchmarking, tracking energy consumption in a building and assessing its performance is the first step in energy management practices. Zions Bank used the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency’s free Portfolio Manager software to benchmark a large number of its facilities as a means of measuring the positive performance improvements that resulted from the firm’s energy efficiency efforts.

After implementing lighting retrofits, sealing air ducts, rescheduling HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) settings and several other standard energy efficiency projects, Zions Bank observed steady Energy Star score improvements across the firm’s entire portfolio of benchmarked buildings. Through its benchmarking efforts, Zions Bank is able to direct energy efficiency actions toward buildings that will most benefit. Additionally, Zions Bank let us know that the majority of its buildings score above 75 on the Energy Star scale, making it eligible for Energy Star certification. 

For its efforts to measure energy performance across 23 local buildings, taking action that resulted in a portfolio-wide improvement in its Energy Star score, and maintaining a majority of its office square footage at Energy Star-certifiable levels, Salt Lake City is pleased to award Zions Bank the Skyline Challenge 2017 Benchmarking Champion award.

Dominion Energy: 2017 Energy Data Leadership

Dominion Energy Skyline Awards 2017

Thank you Dominion Energy for creating a piece of software to make energy benchmarking– and energy saving– easy for everyone. We’re pleased to present you with the 2017 Skyline Challenge award for Energy Data Leadership.

In 2014, Questar Gas (which in 2017 became Dominion Energy) formally signed on as a partner with Salt Lake City on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Data Accelerator program. The program challenged municipalities to work with their local energy utilities to provide a service for commercial energy customers known as whole-building, automated energy data.

This type of service allows commercial building owners to elect to have their building’s energy data aggregated and automatically uploaded into their Energy Star Portfolio Manager account. This saves building owners a significant amount of time each year by eliminating the need to manually enter energy data into their Portfolio Manager profiles, while also protecting individual tenant’s privacy by aggregating their data.

After a year-long process working with Salt Lake City and a group of industry stakeholders, Dominion Energy announced in March 2017 that their Business Benchmarking Service was online and ready for use by commercial customers. In January 2016, Questar Gas (now Dominion Energy) was formally recognized at a convening in Washington D.C. by the U.S. Department of Energy for their successful commitment to the Data Accelerator program. As a result of their efforts, Dominion Energy commercial customers can now elect to have their natural gas utility data automatically populated into their respective Energy Star Portfolio Manager profiles, making energy benchmarking easier and saving customers hours of time.

For its efforts to work with Salt Lake City and local stakeholders to create and implement the Business Benchmarking Service for its commercial customers, Salt Lake City formally recognizes Dominion Energy with the Skyline Challenge 2017 Energy Data Leadership award.

You’ll note the great variety among this year’s winners: some are small businesses, some are tenants, some manage older buildings, and some are relatively new to energy benchmarking.

What unites them all is a shared sense of leadership for energy efficiency. Indeed, we appreciate all they do to conserve resources, save money, and help make Salt Lake City an even better place to live, play, and do business.

We look forward to seeing what new accomplishments this year’s winners have in store for us in the coming year!

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