EPA's annual Top Cities list shows which metro areas were home to the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings in the previous year. These regions continue to make impressive strides in cutting American energy bills and pollution through energy efficiency. Their efforts contribute to stronger economies, healthier communities, and cleaner air for all of us.
ABOUT EPA’S TOP CITIES RANKINGS
Metro areas are ranked by their count of ENERGY STAR buildings
Cities are defined based on the US Census’ “core based statistical areas,” commonly known as metropolitan areas. We then tallied the total number of buildings that had earned the ENERGY STAR in each metro area in 2020 and ranked the cities accordingly.
ENERGY STAR certified buildings are more efficient than 75% of their peers
ENERGY STAR certification is based on a single year of actual, measured energy performance. ENERGY STAR certified buildings are verified to be more energy efficient than 75% of similar buildings nationwide. Thanks to their efficiency, they use an average of 35% less energy than typical buildings, and cause fewer emissions—including 35% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Certification is valid for one year.
Efficiency is important, even during the COVID-19 pandemic
Throughout the COVID pandemic in 2020, building owners and managers were able to rely on the ENERGY STAR score to maintain a clear picture of their buildings’ energy performance, despite major changes to their operations. For example, even though many office buildings, schools, and retail stores went unoccupied, while most hospitals and multifamily buildings were more heavily used, the ENERGY STAR score took these changes into account and continued to provide an accurate assessment of performance for all types of buildings.
Nearly 38,000 buildings have earned the ENERGY STAR since 1999
Nearly 38,000 diverse buildings have earned the ENERGY STAR since 1999, ranging from the Empire State Building to an elementary school in the mountains of Alaska. Together, these buildings have saved more than $5 billion on energy bills and prevented nearly 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—equal to the annual emissions of more than 2.6 million homes.
Current trends in energy efficiency
Smart buildings: The greatest gains in energy efficiency come from a whole-building approach, rather than tackling individual upgrades and projects in isolation. Smart buildings automate this whole-building approach by employing advanced Energy Management Systems. These centralized systems measure, track, and adjust each building component in relation to the entire system, in real time. With an eye towards energy efficiency in particular, facility managers can tie in a building’s lighting, HVAC, window coverings, connected appliances, and power strips to a central network, allowing for significant reductions in energy use.
Utility-provided benchmarking data: As energy benchmarking becomes standard practice in the commercial building industry, more and more utilities are stepping up to help by making aggregate whole-building data readily available, and by enabling customers to have their data sent automatically into their ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account. Once a building’s utility data is in Portfolio Manager, they can access dozens of performance metrics, track improvement over time, see their 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, and apply for ENERGY STAR certification. Learn more.
LED lighting: LED lighting has gone mainstream. First it was used in areas like parking garages, but as prices have come down more buildings are investing in interior space LED retrofits, as well.
What’s behind LA’s success
While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons why nearly 590 L.A.-area buildings applied for and earned the ENERGY STAR last year, we can look at some related activity in the area. For example, Los Angeles requires commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 100,000 square feet to track and report their annual energy and water use using EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.
The city also requires that energy utilities provide aggregated energy consumption data, which makes it easier for these buildings to track and measure—and therefore manage—their energy use.