LA, Capital Top List of Cities with Most Efficient Buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Houston, Lakeland (Fla.), Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and New York are the top metropolitan areas having the largest number of energy efficient buildings in 2009. Fifteen other cities made the list, too.

"These cities see the importance of taking action on climate change," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Communities from Los Angeles to Louisville are reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) and cutting energy bills with buildings that have earned EPA's Energy Star." (Louisville, Ky., was No. 25 on the list.)

EPA first issued its ranking of cities with the most Energy Star-labeled buildings last year. This year, Los Angeles remains in first place with 293 buildings; the District of Columbia picks up second with 204; Denver (136) and Chicago (134) move into the top five; and Lakeland (120) and New York City (90) are new to the top 10. Three cities ─ Des Moines, Fort Collins, and Philadelphia ─ share the No. 24 spot on the list. Each of them has 36 Energy Star labeled buildings in 2009.

Nearly 3,900 commercial buildings earned the Energy Star in 2009, representing annual savings of more than $900 million in utility bills and more than 4.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Since EPA awarded the first Energy Star to a building in 1999, nearly 9,000 buildings have earned the Energy Star as of the end of 2009, representing more than a 40 percent increase over last year’s total. Overall annual utility savings have climbed to nearly $1.6 billion and GHG emissions equal to the emissions of more than 1 million homes a year have been prevented.

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17 percent of U.S. GHG emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. EPA awards the Energy Star to commercial buildings that perform in the top 25 percent of buildings nationwide compared to similar buildings. Thirteen types of buildings can earn the Energy Star, including schools, hospitals, office buildings, retail stores and supermarkets.