Americans love a good weight-loss story. That's why the Environmental Protection Agency has modeled its National Building Competition after "The Biggest Loser," the jiggly NBC show featuring contestants that drop pounds by the dozen. Except in this case, the 14 contestants aren't human—they're buildings throughout the U.S. that are using a suite of efficiency tools from Energy Star and the EPA to save energy.
The buildings, which include an elementary school in Colorado, a California-based JC Penney store, and a dorm in North Carolina, are being asked to decrease energy use through simple steps—i.e. turning off lights, keeping equipment up to date, and educating employees about the competition. Competitors will be challenged to a mid-point weigh-in on July 21, and the building with the greatest percentage-based reduction in energy use intensity will be announced as the winner on October 26.
The winner won't get a prize—which is why the EPA will never be as powerful as NBC—but the building owners will probably save plenty of cash from energy reductions. The competition website also tells us that:
"Competitors receive some technical support from EPA’s ENERGY STAR program in making energy-saving improvements; advice and encouragement from TV personality Bob Harper; training tips from ENERGY STAR partners that have previously been recognized for their energy efficiency achievements; and inclusion in EPA’s media and community outreach activities."
Yes, Bob Harper is the male counterpoint to Jillian Michaels on "The Biggest Loser." And if the competition manages to drum up any hype, he will most likely be behind it. Check out Harper's introduction to the competition below.