MSCA GreenSTAR™ Hurst Mechanical Launches Battle of the Buildings

By | 04/07/2014
West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

GreenSTAR contractor Hurst Mechanical of Belmont, MI, has launched a new competition through the West Michigan chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) among commercial buildings to save energy and fight climate change. Pitting companies against each other to determine which has the most energy-efficient building, local competitors eliminate waste through improvements in energy efficiency with help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR® program.


The first annual Battle of the Buildings is described as “… a ‘Biggest Loser-type’ competition to see who can make the greatest reduction in energy in 2014. The competition aims to help reduce West Michigan’s carbon footprint, and showcase local leaders in the green building ecosystem,” said contest creator and coordinator Cheri Holman, Director of Energy Services at Hurst Mechanical.

Using EPA’s new ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark, track and manage energy, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions against national averages, competitors use the industry-leading, no-cost online tool to monitor their consumption throughout the year. With dozens of building types competing, competitors are placed in individual building classes. The company with the largest reduction percentage will be recognized as a winner at the 2015 year-end event hosted by the local USGBC chapter.


Touting a loyal 14+ years working with Hurst Mechanical, Cheri Holman always has her sights set high. Kicking-off her career with Hurst Mechanical as a service dispatcher in August 2000, Cheri’s competitive, high-achieving nature is a theme that keeps her reaching. This is evidenced by the several leadership roles she’s held, serving as Chair of the LEED for Existing Buildings Advocacy Group; Treasurer of the Board of Directors and Chair of the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings; and, currently, the President of the USGBC West Michigan Chapter.

After leading a very successful energy project at Clark Retirement Community in 2012, Cheri encouraged Mike Ignatoski, Director of Facilities and Capital Planning, to enter the EPA’s National Battle of the Buildings competition. Over the course of two years, Clark Retirement Community has realized an energy reduction of 20%, saving the facility $125,000 a year.

Inspired and energized, Cheri saw the potential of bringing the national competition down to the local level, where building owners and operators could show leadership and be recognized by their peers. Following talks with the owners of Hurst Mechanical, local competitors were incentivized through offers of free building audits to contestants. The competition was made real when Andrea Schnitzer, National Program Manager of ENERGY STAR’s Commercial and Industrial Branch, offered to cobrand the competition. After winning Consumers Energy as a sponsor and receiving endorsements from the EPA, ENERGY STAR, and Gov. Rick Snyder’s office, Cheri’s local project went from vision to reality overnight.


The EPA’s National Battle of the Buildings boasts a total competition footprint square-footage of 520 million square feet, equivalent to 9,175 football fields, or 192 Empire State Buildings, or ¼ the area of Washington, D.C. With the West Michigan chapter’s competitors responsible for 5.3 million square feet of the national total, Cheri again has her sights set high, projecting the 2014 USGBC West Michigan Battle of the Buildings competition footprint reaching 10 million square feet.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program has found that a spirit of healthy competition and the opportunity for recognition are among the best drivers for participation in organization- and community-wide energy management. Competitions are a great way to inspire and motivate businesses to save money while reducing carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. ENERGY STAR applauds USGBC West Michigan for their leadership in promoting commercial building energy efficiency, and we can’t wait to see what buildings come out on top!” said Andrea Schnitzer.

Hurst Mechanical is sharing its expertise to benefit the community, and, hopefully, this initiative will inspire others to support their own communities in unique ways. To find out how to set up a Battle of the Buildings challenge in your area, contact Cheri Holman at Additional information about the challenge can be found at


For more information about this GreenSTAR case study or the MSCA GreenSTAR program, log-on to or contact Barbara Dolim at or 301-990-2210.


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