"Is that a joke?"
That was one co-worker when I told him the news: The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released its annual list of cities with the most Energy Star-certified buildings in the last year, and Colorado Springs is ranked No. 23 nationally.
"More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use," says EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a press release. "This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Energy Star program, and today Energy Star certified buildings in cities across America are helping to strengthen local economies and protect the planet for decades to come."
Helping our ranking were efforts by the Colorado Association of School District Energy Managers. All districts in the city work with CASDEM, resulting in 45 schools earning the Energy Star label. Nationwide, Colorado as a state is sixth for Energy Star-certified schools.
"Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year," reads the release. "Commercial buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect.
"Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, and retail stores."
Topping the list were Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Colorado Springs checked in just ahead of Cincinnati and Salt Lake City.
Overall, the EPA estimates the Springs' 67 certified buildings are generating annual savings of $3.4 million. It's our first time in the Top 25; Denver placed 11th for the second year in a row.
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