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EPA Names Top 25 Energy-Saving Cities

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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Los Angeles has topped a federal ranking of most energy-efficient cities, in terms of Energy Star building certifications, for the fifth consecutive year.

Los Angeles

Boback / Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles has topped the EPA's list of U.S. metro areas with the most Energy Star-certified buildings for the fifth year in a row.

With 528 Energy Star-certified buildings, the California city has cut annual energy costs by $134.8 million, reports the Environmental Protection Agency. Los Angeles has owned the top spot on EPA's Top Cities with the Most Energy Star Certified Buildings in 2012 since the agency began keeping track in 2008.

EPA’s Top Five

Washington, D.C., came in second place on the agency’s new list, with 462 buildings in 2012.

In third place, with 353 buildings, Chicago has moved up through the rankings each year. The Windy City was in sixth place in 2008 and increased its number of Energy Star buildings by an average of 32 percent each year, EPA announced.

New York City, which recently required commercial building owners to publicly disclose their energy use, secured fourth place on the new list. Atlanta, with 304 buildings, rounds out the EPA’s top five.

Phoenix Tower

WhisperToMe / Wikimedia Commons

Houston, TX, is home to Phoenix Tower, a 34-story office building that has earned EPA's Energy Star 14 times, more than other building in the country.

Seventh-place Houston, TX, with 241 buildings, is home to one building that EPA singled out for attention. Phoenix Tower, a 34-story office building built in 1984, has earned EPA’s Energy Star 14 times—more than any other building in America, EPA said.

Three cities have made the Top 25 list for the first time: Albuquerque, NM; Kansas City, MO; and Virginia Beach, VA.

Achieving Federal Goals

More than 20,000 Energy Star-certified commercial buildings across the country helped save more than $2.7 billion in energy costs in 2012, EPA said. The buildings also prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to emissions from the annual electricity use of more than two million homes, EPA said.

“Through their partnership with EPA, the owners and managers of Energy Star-certified buildings are helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving on utility bills,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “With Energy Star, cities across America are helping achieve President Obama’s goal to cut in half the energy wasted by our businesses over the next 20 years.”

To earn EPA’s Energy Star, a commercial building must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide, as verified by a professional engineer or a registered architect.

Energy Star-certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average buildings.

Increase in Certifications Seen

“Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year,” according to the EPA.

However, those numbers are shrinking as the EPA continues to see an increase in buildings applying for and earning the certification each year. The cumulative number of certified buildings has increased by more than 24 percent in 2012, compared to 2011, representing more than 3 billion square feet of floor space nationwide. In 2012 alone, more than 8,200 buildings earned the certification, EPA reported.

Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, and retail stores.

About Energy Star

Launched in 1992, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency, according to the agency. Over the past 20 years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Today, the Energy-Star label can be found on more than 65 different product categories and more than 1.4 million new homes, in addition to the more than 20,000 commercial buildings.


Tagged categories: Building envelope; Commercial Buildings; Commercial Construction; Energy codes; Energy efficiency; Energy Star; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Government

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/27/2013, 9:12 AM)

Wouldn't it make more sense to list energy star buildings per capita? Los Angeles is huge. No surprise it has the most energy star buildings - because it has so many buildings. LA has 6 times the population of Washington, DC.

Comment from M. Halliwell, (3/27/2013, 10:35 AM)

Something more international would be interesting too. Per capita based on a global benchmark. I know that locally, LEED certified (yes, not the same as Energy Star) buildings are popping up all over the place...with the metro population being ~1 million, it's pretty impressive to see so many getting LEED and / or BOMA Best certifications here.

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