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LA, DC and SF Top List of Cities with Most Energy Star Buildings

<p>For a second consecutive year, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco took the No. 1, 2, and 3 spots at the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of 25 cities with the most Energy Star rated buildings in the country.</p>

More than 12,600 commercial properties in the United States now meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standards as Energy Star buildings, and for a third consecutive year Los Angeles tops the agency's list of cities with the most energy efficient buildings.

For a second straight year, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco hold the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively.

The EPA released its annual list today of the 25 cities with the most buildings that have earned Energy Star status in the past year. To qualify for the energy efficiency rating, buildings must perform in the top 25 percent of a nationwide comparison of similar properties, and performance must be independently verified by a registered architect or a licensed professional engineer.

The EPA awarded its first Energy Star for a building in 1999 and has compiled a list of top cities with Energy Star buildings for the past three years.

In addition to charting the number of buildings that earned an Energy Star in the past year, the list tallies the amount of Energy Star-rated floor space and the estimated savings in utility costs resulting from Energy Star-rated buildings.

The EPA's "Top 25" list for 2010, actually includes 26 cities. Austin and Charlotte tied for the 18th spot. Here is the list:

2010 Rank Metro Area Number of Energy Star Labeled Buildings in 2010 Total Floorspace (million sq. ft.) Cost Savings (millions) Emissions Prevented (equal to X-number of homes' electricity use)
1 Los Angeles 510 106.1 $117.90 39,800
2 Washington, DC 301 75.2 $74.20 42,600
3 San Francisco 248 61.4 $75.10 25,600
4 Chicago 232 92.9 $62.70 54,500
5 New York 211 76.4 $86.60 36,500
6 Atlanta 201 51.6 $38.70 38,700
7 Houston 175 70.8 $62.90 47,300
8 Sacramento 168 16.9 $19.10 6,900
9 Detroit 151 27.4 $18.70 17,400
10 Dallas-Fort Worth 148 40.6 $35.20 26,300
11 Denver 146 33.2 $30.50 36,000
12 Boston 145 38.2 $48.70 17,400
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul 141 45.2 $40.00 47,400
14 Philadelphia 125 28.3 $26.50 14,700
15 Portland 114 19 $10.80 7,000
16 Seattle 105 26 $20.20 16,200
17 Phoenix 98 16.3 $15.70 11,900
18 Austin 94 14.8 $13.80 10,100
18 Charlotte 94 14.4 $7.80 7,100
20 San Diego 83 13.4 $14.30 4,300
21 Miami 82 19.7 $19.30 13,800
22 San Jose 69 8.6 $12.70 4,400
23 Des Moines 60 8.3 $3.70 6,000
24 Indianapolis 59 9.6 $5.20 6,200
25 Cincinnati 48 7.3 $5.80 5,200


Energy use by commercial buildings is responsible for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and more than $100 billion in costs each year, according to the EPA. The agency estimates that Energy Star-certified buildings prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to emissions from energy use by almost 1.3 million homes in a year and save some $1.9 billion in energy costs.

The roster of Top 10 cities for Energy Star buildings has not changed much since the list has been compiled, although the rankings of cities in second to 10th place have often shifted. This year, the cities of Detroit and Sacramento, Calif., are new to the list, displacing Denver and Lakeland, Fla.

Here are the Top 10 lists for the past three years:

Click on image for full-size version of chart.

The number of Energy Star buildings has climbed in recent years with 2010 seeing the greatest amount of growth in a year-long period. Last year, 6,200 buildings earned Energy Star certification. The growth is illustrated in the charts above and below, which also show that the threshold for the Top 10 list has risen each year.

Click on image to see full-size version of the chart.

In 2008, Los Angeles earned the No. 1 spot with 262 buildings attaining Energy Star certification that year. Seattle just made the cut with 83 buildings receiving Energy Star status. Only two cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, logged more than 150 Energy Star certifications that year.

For 2010, Los Angeles held the No. 1 position with 510 buildings certified that year. Dallas-Fort Worth was in the 10th slot and was the only city in the Top 10 to have fewer than 150 buildings Energy Star-certified. Also in 2010, five of the Top 10 cities were in California, the most for any state since the lists have been compiled.

Interestingly, California didn't make the Top 10 list released by the U.S. Green Building Council two weeks ago. The USGBC examined the amount of LEED-certified square footage per capita in states and the District of Columbia. In that comparison, Washington, D.C., led the USGBC's Top 10 list with 25.15 LEED-certified square feet per capita. California with 2.36 LEED-certified square feet per capita would have been in 14th place and Texas, which has two cities on the EPA's Top 10 Energy Star list, would have been in 15th place on the USGBC list with 2.09 certified square feet per person.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user sfxeric.

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