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3939 Wisconsin Avenue: The biggest loser?

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first annual “Battle of the Buildings,” winnowing a field of more than 200 edifices down to 14 that competed to reduce their energy usage the most. Despite our fair city’s green cred, the final group included no D.C. addresses.

This time around, five District buildings are among 245 in the running: the Fannie Mae building at 3939 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Judiciary Square, the U.S. Mint offices at 801 9th Street NW, Liberty Square at 450 5th Street NW, and 101 Constitution Avenue NW. All of those have large government tenants, but none are directly government-owned—which may be good news, considering Uncle Sam’s track record lately on improving the energy performance of its buildings.

How are they to be judged? Using something called “Energy Use Intensity,” which is just a function of energy use in kBtu per square foot. The greatest percentage reduction wins, which clearly favors those that have obscenely high energy use already—more low-hanging fruit to get out of the way quickly. Of the D.C. buildings, 3939 Wisconsin is the worst, with an EUI of 495—that’s really high for an office building—and Liberty Square is the best, at 198.

The winner gets a building-wide pizza and ice cream party.