Earth Day Energy Summit celebrates 2014 winners of Biggest Loser-style event, kicks off 2015 statewide competition

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michigan businesses celebrated their success in an energy efficiency competition — as well as the thousands of dollars they saved in lower energy bills — at an awards ceremony for the inaugural Michigan Battle of the Buildings today. The ceremony capped off the yearlong Battle of the Buildings—in which more than 50 locations throughout West Michigan engaged in a friendly race to see who could show the greatest energy use reduction—and also kicked off the 2015 competition, which includes companies from around the state, including Lansing and Detroit.

Michigan’s biggest building losers of 2014 saved a total of 1149.6 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) combined — the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2,737,143 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.

“The bigger the losses in the Battle of the Buildings, the more everyone wins,” said Cheri Holman, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter (USGBC-WM), which organized the competition. “When you increase energy efficiency, you’re directly impacting your bottom line. The businesses that participated in the inaugural Battle of the Buildings showed just how much can be accomplished when we come together to crusade against kilowatts. We’re excited to cheer on the buildings located around the state that are now officially battling it out over BTUs in the 2015 competition.”

Competitors for the 2014 competition came from throughout West Michigan — from Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Petoskey, Holland and more. They ranged in size from smaller establishments like the Pyramid Scheme bar in Grand Rapids to the Odawa Casino in Petoskey. The competitors represented more than 11 million square feet of building space. The 2015 competition — which includes buildings from across the state — is already up and running, with 150 percent more buildings competing than in 2014.

Winners of the 2014 contest were announced at the Earth Day Energy Summit, held today at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The summit featured a keynote address by Valerie Brader, who made her first public speech since her appointment as the executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy.


The Battle of the Buildings competition doesn’t favor buildings that are already “green” — rather, it recognizes buildings based on improvements from their own baseline. Building owners are awarded based on self-improvement, and winners yield the highest percentage improvement from their own baseline.

“The Battle of the Buildings was a great experience for us. The contest was simple and straightforward, and the friendly competition motivated our employees to do more by way of using less,” said Renae Hesselink of Nichols in Muskegon. “Saving money on energy means we can put more resources into hiring new employees, expanding our operations and growing our business.”

To see the full list of 2014 winners and 2015 Battle of the Buildings competitors, go to



About USGBC West Michigan

The USGBC West Michigan Chapter, organized in 2004, is one of 70 chapters that operate as licensed separate non-profits across the United States. The mission of the USGBC West Michigan Chapter is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated in a way that improves the quality of life in West Michigan. Learn more at


About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. Learn more at