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Metro Atlanta Ranks 3rd on EPA’s 2011 List of Cities with Most Energy Star-Certified Buildings

April 13,2012

The metropolitan Atlanta area ranks third on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2011 list of cities with the most Energy Star-certified buildings. Buildings that have earned EPA’s Energy Star perform in the top 25 percent for energy efficiency compared to similar buildings nationwide.

“This ranking is yet another example of the collaboration and commitment of elected officials, civic leaders and business owners to make metropolitan Atlanta one of the most sustainable regions in the nation,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “Our building owners and operators have demonstrated they are good environmental stewards and savvy business leaders by managing our energy resources wisely and also lowering costs.”

Buildings that earn the Energy Star use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Atlanta metropolitan region has 359 Energy Star certified buildings, according to the EPA ranking. By strategically managing energy use and by making cost-effective improvements to their buildings, the organizations that own and operate these buildings have prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from 9,662 households for a year.

Under the leadership of Mayor Reed, the City of Atlanta has undertaken several efforts to promote energy efficiency. Major initiatives include:

  • The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge where more than 26 million square feet of commercial building space has been committed in an effort to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by the year 2020.
  • The RM Clayton Water Reclamation Center, which will benefit from a renewable energy (combined heat and power) project that will meet more than 80 percent of the city’s 2015 renewable energy goals and save more than $1 million annually; the project is 90 percent toward completion.
  • At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, an LED lighting retrofit project in the North and South terminal parking decks that will save more than $400,000 in energy costs per year.
  • Completion of energy efficiency upgrades at the Atlanta Civic Center where energy savings over 2009 baseline are 23% and $93,000 to date for the past six months.
  • Additional lighting retrofit projects at three water treatment facilities, which are nearly 60 percent toward completion with projected combined annual savings of more than $400,000.

“The achievement is certainly one to celebrate,” said Denise Quarles, Director of Sustainability. “The city is doing its part by making energy efficiency improvements to our own portfolio of buildings, but it is the collective efforts of buildings owner, operators and tenant behaviors that should truly be commended.”

EPA’s Energy Star energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 scale may be eligible for the Energy Star. 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. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools and retail stores.

Launched in 1992 by EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star's 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from ENERGY STAR, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes and nearly 16,500 buildings have earned EPA's Energy Star certification.