The City of Houston and IKEA today announced the launch of the Houston Fire Station Energy Challenge to help lower the energy consumption at fire stations across the city.  During the three-month challenge, Houston Fire Fighters at 12 stations will compete to see who can reduce their station’s energy usage the most and demonstrate how small behavioral changes can lead to large energy savings.

“This is a great low-cost way to reduce operational expenditures in our fire stations,” says Houston Fire Chief Rodney West. “Our first priority is keeping the community safe, but we are always looking for ways to make our operations more efficient. This challenge is designed to help our fire fighters look at modifying daily behaviors to help improve energy performance in the buildings without sacrificing their focus to keep Houstonians safe. Our doors are open 24/7, so it’s great that the City and IKEA can partner to find innovative ideas to help us save tax payer’s money on energy.”

Led by the Administration and Regulatory Affairs (ARA) Department’s Sustainability Division in partnership with the General Services Department (GSD) and the Houston Fire Department (HFD), the challenge was designed after successful programs in other cities, including the City of El Paso, which saw sizeable energy reductions and behavioral change as a result of the challenge.  As the in-kind sponsor, IKEA is providing starter kits with energy efficiency products such as LED lightbulbs and power strips to help kick off energy savings at the stations.

“IKEA is proud to support the City of Houston in their Fire Station Energy Challenge,” says Kae Bruney, IKEA Marketing Manager.  “We know that technology modifications and behavior changes, when integrated together, can help drive the shift to a better performing building. Promoting energy efficiency and energy conservation is part of our corporate culture and it’s one of the ways IKEA hopes to help people live a better life at home and at work. We believe it is important to help the community grow more energy efficient and share the tools that make it possible.”

The participating fire stations will be given monthly score cards to help visualize the correlation between changes in their personal energy use and their station’s energy use intensity (EUI). Reducing energy consumption will help the fire department meet increasingly tight budget constraints. Throughout the challenge, HFD, GSD, and ARA’s Sustainability Division will promote energy literacy and easy, positive behavior changes that can be applied at the workplace and at home.  IKEA and the City will announce the top-performing fire stations and the strategies which led to their success at an awards ceremony in December.

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