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EPA ranks Des Moines among top 25 cities with most Energy Star-rated buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection agency has released its annual list of cities that have the most Energy Star certified buildings, noting that Des Moines has increased its participation during the past year.

The list of cities is lead by Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Chicago; New York; Atlanta; Houston; Sacramento; Detriot; and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The agency estimates that the growth in energy star certified buildings across the country has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions from the energy use of nearly 1.3 million homes a year, which has protected health while saving more than $1.9 billion.

Des Moines first made an appearance on the national list in 2009, when it was part of a three-way tie (alongside Fort Collins, Colo. and Philadelphia, Penn.) for 24th place on the list of 25 top cities. For the 2010 rankings, Des Moines has pushed forward one spot to hold the 23rd rank in the country. Philadelphia rocketed to 14th place, and Fort Collins no longer appears in the top 25.

According to statistics released by EPA officials, Des Moines had 60 energy certified buildings in 2010, which provided 8.3 million square feet in floorspace. The agency estimates that the space provided $3.7 million in savings, or the equivalent of about 6,000 homes.

In comparison, the top compliant city, Los Angeles, maintained 510 such buildings providing 106.1 million in floorspace. That city’s savings estimate was $117.9 million, or the equivalent of about 39,800 homes. Los Angeles has topped the list for the past several years.

“When it’s more important than ever to cut energy costs and reduce pollution in our communities, organizations across America are making their buildings more efficient, raising the bar in energy efficiency and lowering the amount of carbon pollution and other emissions in the air we breathe,” said Lisa Jackson, administrator of the EPA. “Through their partnership with Energy Star, metropolitan areas across the US. are saving a combined $1.9 billion in energy costs every year while developing new ways to shrink energy bills and keep our air clean.”

EPA debuted its list of cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings in 2008. Surpassing the growth of the past several years, in 2010 more than 6,200 commercial buildings earned the Energy Star, an increase of nearly 60 percent compared to 2009.

According to a database on the government’s Energy Star website, the entire state of Iowa was home to 67 Energy Star labeled buildings and plants during 2010. Of the total, eight were banks or financial institutions, two were courthouses, 37 were K-12 schools, five were office buildings, 11 were retail establishments, three were unrefrigerated warehouses and one was an industrial plant. The two courthouses making the list are the U.S. Courthouse in Des Moines and the Des Moines County Courthouse in Burlington.

Commercial buildings that earn the Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of buildings nationwide compared to similar buildings and be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect each year. Energy Star certified buildings use 35 percent less energy and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide than average buildings. Fourteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, schools and retail stores.

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