Gold (Energy) Star for D.C., the City with the Most Certified Buildings in 2015
Washington D.C. was recently crowned the city with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the country in a ranking by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For the past five years, Washington D.C. had come in second place behind Los Angeles, but edged ahead of L.A. this year by a margin of just five buildings, with a total of 480 certified buildings. ENERGY STAR and energy efficient buildings have become more common in the District following new local policies that require benchmarking on energy and water performance for private buildings, multi-family buildings and most recently, public buildings. Further demonstrating the city’s leadership in buildings efficiency, Washington D.C. was the first municipality in the country to pass a law requiring benchmarking, which is done using ENERGY STAR guidelines.
While D.C. is a leader in pursuing greater buildings efficiency, the EPA ranking shows that energy efficient buildings are becoming increasingly common in cities throughout the country. According to the EPA over 25,000 buildings in the U.S. have become ENERGY STAR certified since 1999, meaning they have achieved greater efficiency than 75 percent of similar buildings in the country, in addition to using 35 percent less energy and producing 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than comparable buildings on average. The environmental and economic benefits realized from these improvements in efficiency are significant; it is estimated that since 1999, ENERGY STAR certified buildings have saved $3.4 billion on utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions — equivalent to the annual electricity use of 2.4 million houses.
Currently, commercial buildings account for 17 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, costing over $100 billion annually. These numbers, along with the savings already generated from ENERGY STAR certified buildings, indicate a great opportunity for future savings with the expansion of ENERGY STAR certification. As more buildings elect to meet ENERGY STAR standards, it reinforces the importance and benefits of energy-efficient buildings, which only encourages other cities to follow suit. The potential savings that could be realized through wider adoption of ENERGY STAR building standards is significant, and the Alliance, with offices in D.C., L.A. and Oakland, is pleased to be working within communities that are showing strong leadership in increasing building efficiency.