State Capitol in Battle of the Buildings - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State Capitol in Battle of the Buildings

Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn. Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn.
Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn. Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn.
Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn. Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn.
Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn. Photo courtesy: Evan Chinn.

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The push to go green in Hawaii has reached the State Capitol. Employees are duking it out in the Battle of the Buildings - a national competition for the title of "most energy-efficient" workplace in the country.

Your personal workspace may be zapping more energy than you think. "Really, the x factor is human behavior and how much you can get people to start conserving," says Jon Chin from the state energy office of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.

The state has launched the iConserve Energy initiative - asking employees, like Chin, to go green at the Capitol and nine other state offices.

"If 2% of the people in the 10 buildings downtown were to implement some of these savings measures, I think they came up with a figure of about 75 thousand dollars," Chin explains.

The savings measures include turning off computers at the end of the day or even during lunch hour, getting rid of screensavers - which suck up more energy than normal use - turning off coffee makers, eliminating space heaters, using communal fridges instead of personal ones, and turning off lights.

Chin is one of 50 Green Champion volunteers heading up the conservation drive in their departments. I had a chance to meet some of them Wednesday at a rally at the Capitol – where the building, itself, is entered into the EPA's nationwide competition. The Dillingham Transportation building and the Pacific Guardian Center have also entered the Battle of the Buildings.

"This battle of the buildings is going to do more than just change the way this building operates. It's going to change the way each and everyone of us operates," says Representative Derek Kawakami of the House Energy & Environmental Protection committee.

Their energy use will be tracked until November - when the EPA announces a winner.

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