The EPA released a list this week of the U.S. cities with the most Energy Star buildings—and the results might surprise you. This is the third year that the EPA has released the list (PDF), and in that time, the rankings have shifted considerably.
Los Angeles kept its number-one spot for the third year in a row, while Washington, D.C. and San Francisco maintained their second and third place spots for the second year in a row—but after that, the rankings have shifted. Sacramento and Detroit (numbers eight and nine, respectively) are new to the top 10, and New York City climbed five spots for its fifth-place ranking. Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth round out the top 10.
So what does a city have to do to get on the list? There is still a large disparity between the first and tenth-place cities—L.A. has 510 Energy Star buildings, and Dallas has only 148. That means there is still plenty of wiggle room for other cities to up their rankings.
It isn't easy to get Energy Star approval in the first place. Certified buildings are required to use 35% less energy and emit 35% less CO2 than average buildings. But once cities make the investment, they can expect big returns. According to the EPA, the 12,000-plus certified buildings in the U.S. save a combined $1.9 billion in energy costs. Once those results become more widely known, the competition in the EPA's top 10 rankings will likely grow even more fierce.