(Above: At left, John Hester, Director of Design Engineering, Turner Broadcasting, accepts the Top Electricity Saver Award from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.)

Ask John Hester how much energy it takes to power 1000 average-sized homes in the U.S. for one year, and he'll tell you: 14.6 million kilowatt hours.

He knows, because that's how much energy his team's efforts have saved Turner's CNN Center in Atlanta since 2008 - winning the company the "Top Electricity Saver Award" on July 16. The award, which was presented by Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed, is part of the Better Building Challenge, a U.S Department of Energy initiative that has charged commercial and industrial sectors across the country with reducing energy consumption 20% by 2020.

Hester, who serves as Director of Design Engineering for Turner, says the company has already reduced its usage by 17% and expects to hit 20% in the very near future - beating the goal.

"Greening our technology and our operations is really in our DNA," Hester explained, citing founder Ted Turner's emphasis on sustainable business practices. "We also have a lot of civic pride, so we wanted to help Atlanta win this challenge. Being recognized for those efforts outside of the company was really rewarding for the whole team."

Hester also serves as Director of the Time Warner Global Energy Council, which promotes best practices in energy savings and manages the usage, cost and environmental impact of Time Warner's utilities for approximately 20 million square feet of real estate nationwide.

Photo Credit: City of Atlanta/Tkeban X.T. Jahannes