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Urban Green Council Awards the First EBies

By Alanna Malone and Joann Gonchar, AIA
June 29, 2012
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Courtesy Urban Green Council
The 2311 4th Street Condominium Complex in Santa Monica, California, took home the "Verdant Brainiac" award along with Carlyle Towers in Caldwell, New Jersey.


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At a ceremony in New York City last night, the winners of the first annual EBie Awards were announced. The Urban Green Council conceived the EBies program to recognize the “unsung heroes” of green building—owners, operators, and consultants who curb energy and water use in buildings that are least five years old ("EB" stands for "existing buildings"). “My colleagues in the sustainability world have lamented for years that new green buildings, while very important, steel most of the headlines,” said Russell Unger, executive director of Urban Green, the New York chapter of the USGBC.  “But an equally significant story is all the great work being done in existing buildings.”

The awards event, modeled after the Oscars and the Tonys—complete with little black envelopes and a performance by Emily Padgett from the Broadway-bound production of Flashdance—was held at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square. More than 200 architects, engineers, and property owners attended.

The jury, which included representatives from the real-estate industry, building managers, and designers, chose 10 winners from almost 70 submissions. The entries—commercial and residential buildings located all over the country—were judged on the basis of measured improvements in energy use and resource consumption as well as cost savings. The program initially had 12 award categories with clever titles like “the reformed gas guzzler” and “shine a light on me.” Some of these categories were combined after the first round of judging in order to make them more competitive, according to Unger. Multiple winners were selected in several of the categories:


The All-Rounder recognizes the most improved building across two or more sustainability categories.

Deutsche Bank 60 Wall Street, New York City
At Deutsche Bank, a range of energy- and water-efficiency measures were implemented, including steam-reduction initiatives and a waste management program. Special features include a 123 KW flat panel solar array (the largest in Manhattan) installed on the building's roof.


The Smooth Operator/All Revved Up and Ready to Go recognizes the most improved building across two or more sustainability categories achieved solely through improved operations, maintenance, or through retro-commissioning.

The Greening of Team Detroit, Detroit, Michigan
This coalition of six advertising agencies working for Ford Motor Company lowered energy use in its shared space by adjusting temperature settings, installing motion sensors for lights, and setting screens and lighting to automatically power down at the end of the work day. A car-pool program was launched and the building maintenance team has switched to all eco-friendly cleaning products.


The Reformed Drinker/Take Me to the River recognizes the building with the greatest achievement in reducing potable water usage.

Johnson Braund Offices, Seattle, Washington
After installation of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and implementation of other conservation features, water use in the Johnson Braund Offices averages only 5 gallons per person, per workday. The building is also notable for its energy strategy: it uses zero fossil fuels, with nearly 25 percent of its annual energy provided by on-site solar panels. The team lowered energy use by 75 percent while maintaining the building at a comfortable 71 degrees year-round.

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