Twin Cities Ranked Eighth in the US for Energy Star Buildings

Yes, you read that right, the Twin Cities, as in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul combined, ranked 8th out of 25 cities with the most ENERGY STAR qualified buildings in 2008 according to a list compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If you’re a regular reader, you know how I like Green Things, so of course I would latch on to a story like this.  Buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR must perform in the top 25 percent of energy efficiency for facilities nationwide. ENERGY STAR qualified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In Minneapolis-St. Paul, there are a total of 102 energy-efficient buildings, adding up an energy cost savings of more than $36 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 that would have amounted to the electricity use of 49,000 households for a whole year. That includes a little help from the City of Minneapolis itself, which requires that new or major renovations to municipal buildings meet Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) silver level requirements.

Here is the Top Ten:

1. Los Angeles, CA with 262 buildings, saving $87.2 million

2. San Francisco, CA with 194 buildings, saving $83.8 million

3. Houston, TX with 145 buildings, saving $70.6 million

4. Washington, DC with 136 buildings, saving $42.2 million

5. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX with 126 buildings, saving $31.9 million

6. Chicago, IL with 125 buildings, saving $42.2 million

7. Denver, CO with 109 buildings, saving $32.9 million

8. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN with 102 buildings, saving $36.3 million

9. Atlanta, GA with 97 buildings, saving $16.4 million

10. Seattle, WA with 83 buildings, saving $16.3 million

EPA’s national energy performance rating system provides a 1 to 100 scale that helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy compared to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a rating of 75 or higher 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.

In 2008, more than 3,300 commercial buildings and manufacturing plants earned the Energy Star distinction, which represents a savings of more than $1 billion in utility spending and more than 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. There are a total of 6,200 Energy Star-qualifying buildings and plants in America.

To view more information and to see the whole top 25 list, visit the ENERGY STAR Labeled Buildings and Plants website.

P.S. Another list came out recently, America’s Unhappiest Cities, and thank goodness we weren’t in the Top 10 on that one.  However, we were ranked nineteenth!  To see the whole BusinessWeek list and slideshow, click here. James Lileks from the StarTribune, sounding reading for spring, had a funny response, too.

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