Houston makes top 10 list for energy efficient buildings

March 29, 2010 7:46:11 AM PDT
The Houston area has ranked sixth on the US Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 list of cities with the most energy efficient buildings, according to a release from the City of Houston. The EPA's Energy Star awards are based on the number of commercial buildings that rank among the top 25 percent in energy efficiency compared to similar structures. "We're pleased that EPA is recognizing our local efforts to improve the environment," said Mayor Annise Parker.

Buildings that earn the Energy Star use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the mayor's office says. The Houston metropolitan area numbers 133 Energy Star labeled buildings. This amounts to 64 million square feet of space and savings of almost $74 million. By managing energy use and by making improvements to their buildings, the organizations that own and operate these buildings have prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from 53,365 households for a year.

Mayor Parker added, "Through this achievement, our building owners and operators have demonstrated their commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering their energy costs."

EPA's Energy Star energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores 75 or higher on EPA's 1-100 scale is eligible for the Energy Star. Commercial buildings that can earn the Energy Star include offices, bank branches, financial centers, retail stores, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories, and warehouses.

Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products, new homes, and commercial and industrial buildings. Products and buildings that have earned the Energy Star prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved nearly $17 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 30 million vehicles.


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