This week, the EPA released its annual list of the 25 American cities with the highest number of Energy Star certified buildings.
According to the EPA, 16,000 Energy Star certified buildings in the U.S. helped save “nearly $2.3 billion in annual utility bills and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to emissions from the annual energy use of more than 1.5 million homes” by the end of 2011.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a press release, “More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use. This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Energy Star program, and today Energy Star certified buildings in cities across America are helping to strengthen local economies and protect the planet for decades to come.”
Jackson blogged for HuffPost in March, “After 20 years, our vast network of partners gives Americans a wide-array of innovative choices for saving energy and cutting costs every day.”
America’s 4.8 million commercial buildings and 350,000 industrial facilities expend $107.9 billion and $94.4 billion a year on energy costs, according to the EPA’s Energy Star program. Yet an estimated 30% of that cost – enormous as it is – is actually wasted due to inefficient technologies. What’s more, according to Energy Star, if the energy efficiency of our commercial and industrial buildings was boosted by an attainable 10% across the board, that would result in reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 30 million vehicles off our roads (or about as many cars and trucks as are registered in Illinois, New York, Texas and Ohio combined).
How do you make sure a green building is really greener? One convenient way is third party certification. The gold standard has been the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program from the U.S. Green Building Council. Another one increasingly gaining familiarity is the EPA’s Energy Star label program, which was extended from appliances and electronics to whole structures fairly recently.
According to the EPA, the number of Energy Star-qualified buildings across the U.S. has soared by more than 130% from 2007. What does that really mean? Energy Star buildings use 35% less energy than average buildings and emit 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In January, the U.S. Green Buildings council released its 2011 list of top states that have implemented their LEED certification program. LEED, which stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” is a system that “provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions,” according to the USGBC.
Below, find the EPA’s top 25 cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings and see if your city made the list in 2012.
1. Los Angeles
2. Washington, DC
4. New York
6. San Francisco
8. Dallas-Fort Worth
14. Minneapolis-St. Paul
15. San Diego
16. San Jose
23. Kansas City, Mo.
23. Portland, Ore.
24. Riverside, Calif.
25. Virginia Beach
For the full list of cities, click here.