It takes a lot of energy to go to work, and we mean that quite literally. In fact, most of a city’s carbon emissions come from commercial buildings. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, commercial buildings in Chicago are responsible for 70 percent of the city’s carbon emissions; in New York City, it’s a staggering 80 percent.
In recent years, however, many metropolitan cities have committed to reducing their carbon footprint. These days you’ll see many high rises sporting green roofs, LED lighting, and automated heating and cooling systems, in addition to other green upgrades. As Fast Company reports, since 1999, more than 23,000 commercial buildings have earned the EPA’s Energy Star rating.
These buildings use 35 percent less energy and produce 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings, the EPA said. To earn the seal, a commercial building has to score 75 or higher on an energy efficiency scale out of 100 (50 is the average).
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Impressively, Los Angeles topped the list for the sixth consecutive year with 443 Energy Star certified buildings. In 2013, these green structures helped the city save $132.2 million in utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to 45,100 homes. A reason for Los Angeles’ success is that California requires buildings to disclose their energy use.
Here’s a complete list of the top 10:
1. Los Angeles
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Atlanta
4. New York
5. San Francisco
6. Chicago
7. Dallas-Fort Worth
8. Denver
9. Philadelphia
10. Houston
Did your metro area make the list? Here, the top 25 as well as which small and mid-sized cities that also made the cut.