LA Tops Energy Star Rankings for Third Consecutive Year

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ranked Los Angeles at number one in its list of American cities with the highest number of Energy Star labeled buildings. LA has earned the top ranking for the third consecutive year. Washington D.C. ranks second with 301 Energy Star buildings, and San Francisco is at the third place with 248 Energy Star buildings in 2010. Both these cities have retained their positions for the second year in a row. The list of top 10 cities has seen two new entrants, Detroit and Sacramento that have moved up from 15th and 16th position in the previous year.

Energy Star certification is awarded to buildings that consume 35 percent less energy and as a result reduce their carbon emissions by 35 percent compared to an average building. Energy performance of the buildings is verified independently by third party professional engineers, architects or consultants who are licensed to perform this job. 14 types of commercial buildings, including schools, retail stores and offices are eligible for Energy Star certification.

The good news is that 2010 saw a jump of almost 60 percent over previous year in terms of the number of commercial buildings that were awarded the Energy Star rating. More than 12,600 buildings have been awarded this certification by the EPA since 1999, out of which 6,200 achieved this status in 2010. As per the EPA estimates, commercial buildings contribute almost 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions each year. The cost of energy use by commercial buildings is more than $100 billion per year.

The Energy Star award program by the EPA has resulted in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from 1.3 million homes in the United States each year. Energy Star ranking for a building is awarded when it achieves a minimum score of 75 out of 100 on a benchmark ranking that computes the building’s energy consumption in comparison to the average consumption of energy by similar buildings across the country. There is a broad range of criteria that the building must satisfy before it gets the Energy Star rating.

In LA, the number of such buildings has almost doubled within two years from 2008 to 2010. Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and New York, the next cities in the EPA list do not even come close to Los Angeles in terms of their total number of Energy Star buildings.

Photo Credit: mterraza