For the second straight year, Los Angeles was ranked the top city for the number of Energy Star-certified buildings, and seven of the top 25 cities were newly added for 2009.
While two of the 10 largest cities in the U.S., San Antonio and San Jose, did not make the list (meaning they have less than 35 qualified buildings), smaller cities including Lakeland, Fla. and Ogden, Utah had strong showings. Lakeland had 120 Energy-Star labeled buildings last year, more than Miami and Phoenix combined.
So how do you take the Energy Star system, most commonly associated with energy-efficient appliances and electronics, and use it to rate an entire building? The EPA will rate a building’s energy use compared to similar facilities on a scale of 1-100, and the top 25 percent qualify for Energy Star certification.
The program covers any commercial building or manufacturing plant, which means schools, hospitals and even refineries are eligible. These buildings account for nearly half of U.S. annual energy consumption.
The significance of an Energy Star-rated building can be quantified from both an environmental and economical standpoint. In Los Angeles, the 293 buildings that met the standards saved enough electricity to power 34,800 homes and $93.9 million in energy costs.
Energy savings are also based on the size of the buildings, meaning that Lakeland was only able to save $8.3 million in energy costs since its buildings were 2-5 times smaller than other top 10 cities based on square footage. Every other top 10 city saved more than $20 million in energy costs.
You can search for any of the 9,598 qualified facilities by geographic location on the Energy Star Web site. Buildings were first certified beginning in 1999.