The U.S. EPA said it will unveil on Thursday the latest group of commercial building design projects that have been recognized as “Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR.” Joined by representatives of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the EPA will recognize 75 new commercial building design projects for their energy efficiency, representing a 60% increase in the number of qualifying projects over the last year.
“By designing buildings to be energy efficient, these architectural and engineering firms are leading the way in the fight against global warming,” said Deborah Jordan, the EPA’s Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest. “We congratulate this year’s Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR recipients for their commitment to energy reductions in the built environment.”
The EPA said the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR program connects the energy-design intent of a building with its operating performance, ensuring energy efficiency throughout the building’s lifecycle. Projects that qualify for the designation are designed to create fewer greenhouse -gas emissions and reduce energy bills over the lifetime of the building. Once built, this year’s 75 new projects are projected to save nearly 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions and more than $6 million in energy costs annually across more than 14 million square feet. On average, these projects are estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 50%, which meets the AIA’s goal of a 50% CO2 reduction on newly constructed buildings by 2010.
An architecture firm can receive EPA’s Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR by comparing the project’s intended energy use against the energy use of comparable operating buildings by using the agency’s no-cost online tool, Target Finder. Building owners are then able to benchmark the actual performance of completed projects using another online EPA tool, Portfolio Manager. In this way, it can be verified that the building is operating as intended.
Since the program’s inception in 2004, nearly 170 building design projects submitted by 84 firms have achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR. These projects—totaling nearly 28 million square feet of space—were designed to prevent more than 180,000 metric tons of CO 2 emissions per year, a 46% reduction over average similar buildings, and save more than $12 million in annual energy costs.
ENERGY STAR was introduced by the EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through energy efficiency. In 2008, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved about $19 billion on their energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 29 million vehicles.
More information on the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR program is available on the website located at www.energystar.gov/commercialbuildingdesign.