EPA Names 2023 Top Energy-Saving Cities
On Wednesday (April 26), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its annual “Top Cities” list to spotlight cities with the greatest number of ENERGY STAR certified commercial and multifamily buildings.
For the fourth year in a row, Los Angeles took first place with nearly 750 certified buildings, followed by Washington, D.C., with 555 buildings and Atlanta with 376 buildings.
“In many cities, a majority of greenhouse gas emissions results from the energy used by buildings,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
“I applaud this year’s top cities, as well as the owners and managers of each ENERGY STAR certified building in them, for taking real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help America address the climate crisis.”
About the Program
Beginning in 2009, the EPA’s list of cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings shows how buildings are adopting energy efficiency as a way to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A commercial building must achieve an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 scale, indicating that it is more energy efficient than 75% of similar buildings nationwide. A building’s ENERGY STAR score is calculated based on a number of factors, including energy use, hours of operation, and a variety of other operating characteristics.
Did your city make our list of top cities with the most #EnergyStar certified buildings last year? Click on your city’s name to see a map of 2022 ENERGY STAR certified buildings near you! https://t.co/fmYZyKZjGx pic.twitter.com/HZ3zWRAXjB— ENERGY STAR (@ENERGYSTAR) April 26, 2023
The EPA reports that, to create the annual list, the number of ENERGY STAR certified buildings within each metropolitan area, as defined by the U.S. Census, are tallied. This includes the city itself as well as surrounding suburbs. Separate rankings are also created for mid-sized and small cities.
The Agency says that commercial buildings are responsible for 16% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and spend more than $190 billion per year on energy. In many cities, buildings are the largest contributor of emissions, responsible for 30% to more than 70% of a city’s total emissions.
On the flip side, ENERGY STAR certified buildings use an average of 35% less energy and are responsible for 35% less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings.
This year’s list includes buildings that earned the EPA ENERGY STAR during 2022. The top 25 cities overall include:
According to the release, more than 7,000 commercial buildings earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR last year. As of the end of 2022, nearly 41,000 buildings across the country have earned ENERGY STAR certification.
The EPA reports that these buildings have saved $5.4 billion on energy bills and prevented more than 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—equal to the annual emissions of more than 2.7 million homes.
A full list of Top Cities, including the ranking of top small and mid-sized cities and last year's rankings, can be found here.
Recent Federal Building Standard
At the end of last year, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the first-ever performance standard for federal buildings to cut energy use and electrify equipment in 30% of building spaces owned by the United States government.
The Federal Building Performance Standard is the latest action by President Joe Biden in pursuant to his goal to achieve net-zero emissions in all federally owned buildings by 2045.
Designed to jumpstart decarbonization in new and existing buildings, the Federal Building Performance Standard will electrify and cut emissions from new or newly renovated federal buildings.
According to the Administration, energy usage in federal buildings for space heating, water heating, cooking and other needs accounts for over 25% of federal emissions.
The new standard requires that new and renovated federal buildings achieve zero scope 1 emissions in 30% of their buildings by square footage by 2030. To reach that mark, agencies will reportedly be buying American-made products such as heat pumps, electric water heaters, and other energy-efficiency and building system technologies supported by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Once fully adopted, the new rule is expected to save $8 million per year in building costs. Over a 30-year span, the new rule is projected to reduce carbon emissions from federal buildings by 1.86 million metric tons and methane emissions by 22.8 thousand tons.