WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual list of the 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most Energy Star-certified buildings for 2011 — with Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta topping out the list.
The EPA reported that by the end of 2011, the nearly 16,500 Energy Star-certified buildings across America helped save nearly $2.3 billion in annual utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to emissions from the annual energy use of more than 1.5 million homes.
"More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "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."
Los Angeles has remained in first and Washington, D.C. in second place since 2008 — the first year the list was released — while Atlanta moved up from the number six spot in 2010 to third place this year.
2011 also saw Boston and Riverside, Calif. break into the top ten, and the addition of Tampa, Fla., Colorado Springs, Colo. and Salt Lake City as newcomers to the list in 2011.
Six of the cities on the list come from California — more than any other state, according to the EPA.
Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year, according to the agency. Commercial buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.
Energy Star certified buildings — which can range from office buildings to schools or retail stories — use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings.