February 25, 2008

Green Choices Grow with Energy Star Qualified Buildings

(Washington, D.C. – Feb. 12, 2008) Finding energy efficient schools, supermarkets, offices, and other facilities throughout the country has become even easier for Americans interested in being green. Now they can find the Energy Star not only where they live but where they work, shop, play and learn. The number of commercial buildings and manufacturing plants to earn the Energy Star for superior energy efficiency is up by more than 25 percent in the past year, and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions reduced has reached an all-time high of more than 25 billion pounds.

“From a historic office tower in the Big Apple to a small manufacturing plant in America’s heartland – EPA is pleased to see so many organizations offering high-efficiency Energy Star buildings and facilities,” said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation.

Nearly 4,100 buildings and manufacturing plants have earned the EPA’s Energy Star through the end of 2007, with the addition of more than 1,400 in 2007 alone. They include about 1,500 office buildings, 1,300 supermarkets, 820 K-12 schools and 250 hotels. Also, more than 185 banks, financial centers, hospitals, courthouses, warehouses, dormitories, and – for the first time – big-box retail buildings earned the Energy Star. More than 35 manufacturing plants such as cement, auto assembly, corn refining, and – for the first time – petroleum refining are also being recognized.

In total, these award-winning commercial buildings and manufacturing plants have saved nearly $1.5 billion annually in lower energy bills and prevented carbon dioxide emissions equal to the emissions associated with electricity use of more than 1.5 million American homes for a year, relative to typical buildings. Commercial buildings that have earned the Energy Star use nearly 40 percent less energy than average buildings and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, offering a significantly smaller carbon footprint. About 500 Energy Star buildings use 50 percent less energy than average buildings. Many of these buildings excel due to good energy management practices such as routine energy efficiency benchmarking.

Energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly half of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 50 percent of energy consumption nationwide. For more than a decade, EPA has worked with businesses and organizations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through strategic energy management practices. Today, there are Energy Star qualified facilities in every state across the country. To qualify for the Energy Star, a building or manufacturing plant must score in the top 25 percent using EPA’s National Energy Performance Rating System.

Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. In 2006, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved about $14 billion on their energy bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 25 million vehicles.…

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