A report by the Environmental Protection Agency found that Los Angeles continues to lead the nation in green buildings, with 293 energy-efficient buildings. Washington, D.C., followed with 204 buildings. The EPA report noted that the nation's capital added 68 Energy Star-rated buildings between 2008 and 2009. Last year, the Washington metro region placed fourth.
San Francisco dropped one spot, placing third with 173 Energy Star-qualified buildings. That figure was down 11 percent from 194 recognized buildings included in last year's report.
Denver, with 136 green buildings, and Chicago (134), whose mayor, Richard Daley, is pushing for the city to be "the greenest in America," rounded out the top five cities, the report said. Houston placed sixth with 133 buildings qualifying for Energy Star status. New York City, the nation's largest city, placed tenth with 90 qualifying buildings.
Among other major U.S. metropolises, Boston landed in 13th place, Miami in 19th place and Philadelphia in 24th place. Portland and Seattle, two cities known for their environmentally friendly approaches to city living, placed 12th and 14th, respectively.
To determine the performance of a facility, the EPA compares energy use among other, similar types of facilities on a scale of 1-100; buildings that achieve a score of 75 or higher may be eligible for the Energy Star rating. The EPA rating system also accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather data and other considerations. "This will come as a surprise to many people outside of Washington because they don't think of Washington as a green city," Cliff Majersik, executive director of the D.C.-based nonprofit Institute for Market Transformation, told the Washington Post.
According to an interview with EPA spokeswoman Maura Beard in the San Francisco Chronicle, the number of Energy Star-approved buildings across the country climbed to 9,000 in 2009, up from 6,200 in 2008. "Across the U.S. the numbers grew, but we want to put out a call to action," Beard told the paper. "We're off to a good start, but we need to improve."
Earlier this week, the EPA honored a group of manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies, home builders and other organizations as 2010 Energy Star award winners. These organizations were recognized for their long-term commitment to fighting climate change through greater energy efficiency and included the Building Owners and Managers Association International in Washington, D.C., and PECO Energy in Philadelphia.
"Organizations across the country and around the world are now making energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact a priority," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "I commend this year's Energy Star Award winners for leading the way in that transition."