Every year the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) ranks all the cities in the United States by the number of local buildings deemed to be “Energy Star certified,” which is the agency’s official designation for energy efficient designed structures. In order to achieve Energy Start certification a building must utilize at least 20 percent energy per square foot than required federal standards. Many of the energy star certified buildings utilize upward of $.50 less per square foot to operate than the average building.
In total, the energy costs of commercial buildings in the United States account for nearly 17 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and costs more than $100 billion per year. To date, the EPA claims there are 23,000 buildings across the country which earned the prestigious Energy Star label last year. The top ten cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings are:
The first of two Texan cities on this list, Houston has been on the list of the top ten cities with the most energy efficient buildings in the United States since it began being tracked in 2008. Houston has 204 buildings listed as Energy Star certified, which accounts for 82.6 million square feet of office space and $66.4 million dollars in reduced energy costs.
Since the inaugural year of the Energy Star certification, no other city has made as big of gains as Philadelphia. In 2008, Philadelphia was ranked 17th, and has steadily risen to 9th in 2014. There are 210 Energy Star certified buildings located throughout Philadelphia. This accounts for nearly 34.5 million square feet of certified office space, which saves the city $28.1 million dollars in energy costs on an annual basis. It is likely that Philadelphia will continue to improve their ranking on their list due to an increased focus on energy efficient construction designs and renovating older buildings to reduce their carbon footprint.
With the recent growth Denver has experienced, energy and building for the future are among Denver’s highest priorities. Having the smallest population in the combined metropolitan area of any of the cities on this list really makes Denver’s accomplishment stand out. Denver has 221 Energy Star certified buildings at the moment and has improved its ranking by 4 spots compared to last year. With all the new construction in the area, Denver is likely to continue to improve its rank. In total Denver has 43.5 million square feet of Energy Star certified office space saving the local economy $40.2 million in energy costs each year. This is enough energy to power 50,200 homes in the area for a year.
Dallas – Fort Worth
The greater Dallas – Forth Worth metropolitan area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States. The economy in the area is also one of the fastest growing in the United States. Due to this rapid growth, new construction and renovation in the Dallas – Forth Worth area has put an increased importance on energy efficiency. Dallas – Forth Worth has a combined total of 229 Energy Star certified buildings, which account for 60.1 million square feet of floor space, or the same amount of energy required to power 46,600 homes in the area for an entire year.
Chicago is widely known as the city where the skyscraper was born. Chicago rates as one of the top cities in the United States in terms of energy efficient office space. With more than $91.3 million dollars in estimated energy savings from a combined total of 233 Energy Star certified buildings, Chicago is both a regional and national leader when it comes to energy efficiency. This is the energy equivalent of powering 105.900 homes located in the Chicago area.
Located next to Silicon Valley, San Francisco has historically always been a hotbed for emerging technologies and innovation. Currently, San Francisco has 289 Energy Star certified buildings. In total this equates to 74.7 million square feet of office space, and the power equivalent of 36,400 homes in the San Francisco area. The cost of energy saved is roughly $110.10 million dollars.
New York City
The home to more buildings and more people than any other city in the country, New York City has realized the importance of energy efficiency. Increasing the number of Energy Star certified buildings in New York City has been especially challenging due to the fact many of the city’s largest buildings were constructed more than half a century ago when modern technology, construction techniques, and energy efficient designs weren’t available. Despite these challenges, New York City today has 303 Energy Star certified buildings saving the city an estimated total of $142.4 million in energy costs, or the equivalent of powering 58.700 homes in the area.
Atlanta has been long known to be one of the most technologically progressive cities in the southern part of the country. Having improved their ranking 6 spots since the inaugural year of the Energy Star certification, Atlanta is quickly becoming one of the leaders in green construction and renovation. Today, Atlanta has 318 fully Energy Star certified buildings, containing more than 70.4 million square feet of floor space, and offset the equivalent emissions of nearly 52,500 homes in the area.
The nation’s capitol has always fostered an environment of invention and innovation. With 435 buildings in Washington, D.C. which have received the Energy Star certification for energy efficiency and more than 109.1 million square feet of certified office space, Washington, D.C. is on the forefront of green construction and renovation. Every year an estimated $119.0 million dollars is saved on energy costs by utilizing modern construction technologies and being environmentally conscious. This is equivalent to powering nearly 69,800 homes in the area for a year.
Since the official Energy Star designation for buildings was created in 2008, Los Angeles has held the number one spot. Currently, there are 443 buildings in Los Angeles with the designation, accounting for more than 102.7 million square feet of office space. The estimated savings in energy cost from these buildings is estimated to be almost $132.2 million dollars or the equivalent of powering 45,100 local homes for a year. In order to generate enough energy for the millions of residents who live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, buildings, factories, and homes and put an increased importance of the value of energy efficiency and it shows. Los Angeles is on the path to become one of the world’s most energy efficient cities.
Source: Energy Star
Featured Image: Flickr by Todd Jones