The EBies Turn Four

See this year's EBie winners at the EBie website.

You know it’s going to be a good night when guests start streaming in, looking sharp, even before the event’s official start time. Such was the scene at last night’s 2015 EBie Awards, Urban Green Council’s “Oscars of existing buildings.” The fourth annual ceremony, dinner, and comedy spectacular once again recognized improved environmental performance in existing buildings directed by a range of building professionals who conceived and implemented the work.

Often, the only recognition these leaders get for their vision, stress, and sweat is a lower utility or water bill. But the EBies aim to give people their due, and word is getting around: this year’s pool of submissions was the largest and most diverse in EBie history, with entrants and finalists hailing from all across the country. Together, their projects have saved 20 million kilowatts of electricity and 52 million gallons of water in the past year alone!

At the Hard Rock Café’s LIVE Theater in Times Square, EBie guests mingled among music memorabilia from past and present before opening remarks by John Mandyck, Chief Sustainability Officer for UTC Building & Industrial Systems and chair of Urban Green Council’s Board of Directors. Then Broadway duo Lauren Elder and Max Crumm kicked off the awards show with a classic number that’s all about competition, Irving Berlin’s Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better). EBie presenters then took the stage two by two and introduced the finalists in seven categories.

EBie jurors and other industry leaders served as presenters, exchanging joking jibes in a program packed with sight gags, stories, and near-perfect pronunciation of all the finalist’s names. The winners in each category accepted their honors (and unique trophies) with heartfelt speeches about what the award means to them. “I really do feel like I’m at the Oscars!” said Ali Gaylord of BRIDGE Housing in Northern California, who won the Verdant Brainiac award.

“Thank you for making existing buildings more prominent,” said architect Andreas Benzing, , who won the Power to the People award. “It’s an important category to recognize in sustainability.

“We appreciate your applauding the little guys who work to save energy behind the scenes,” said Eric Gregory, Manager of Commissioning and Sustainable Performance at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who won the Smooth Operator award."

The evening came to a close with another Broadway tune and more celebrating over coffee and dessert. Afterward, attendees exited out into the glow of Times Square, probably thinking of the light in terms of kilowatt hours and plug loads. We hope you’ll join us next year as the EBies turn five to help celebrate a new class of extraordinary retrofits!