December marks the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Buildings Program, which has committed itself to increasing the energy efficiency of the buildings in which Americans work, shop, play, and learn. Energy efficiency is especially important, as nearly half of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and nearly half of energy consumption nationwide is produced by buildings in the commercial and manufacturing sector.
ENERGY STAR partners in the commercial marketplace have helped prevent nearly 120 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent since 1999. More than 8,400 buildings and industrial plants in the United States have earned the ENERGY STAR for superior energy efficiency and environmental performance. Typically, these buildings use 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than average buildings.
Since the program’s inception 10 years ago, several notable buildings have earned the ENERGY STAR. Among those that have earned this distinction are:
- Four of the 10 tallest buildings, including the Aon Center in Chicago, the Chrysler Building in New York City, Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta, and US Bank Tower in Los Angeles.
- Cambridge Savings Bank in Boston, which was built in 1820 and is the oldest building to have earned the ENERGY STAR.
- Ridgehaven Green Building in San Diego, which was the first building to earn the ENERGY STAR in 1999.
- The 1900 K Street Building in Washington, D.C., which originally ranked in the bottom third of buildings nationwide for energy efficiency, and after instituting no-cost strategies, moved their rank to the top third, earned the ENERGY STAR, and reduced their CO2 emissions by 46 million pounds per year.