For the construction industry, green building is becoming more common on commercial and residential building projects. This is especially the case when owners consider how much a facility costs: Commercial buildings in the United States account for roughly 20% of the nation’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, which costs more than $100 billion annually.
Yesterday, the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), www.epa.gov, Washington, D.C., announced its sixth annual list of the 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY STAR-certified buildings in 2013. More than 30 types of commercial buildings can earn this distinction including office buildings, K-12 schools, hotels, and retail stores.
The leading cities include Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, and Houston.
While there are a number of ways to improve the energy efficiency of a facility such as more efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems or better overall designs, technology is increasingly becoming a way for facility managers to monitor and control the energy consumption of a facility.
In addition to naming the most energy-efficient cities, the EPA released some interesting statistics related to the most recent list. The data show more than 23,000 buildings earned certification by the end of last year. What’s more, these buildings saved more than $3.1 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse emissions. This is equal to the emissions from more than 3.3 million vehicles annually. That is quite a bit of savings.
Broken down more granularly for building owners, facilities certified in this manner typically cost $0.50 less per sq.ft. to operate than average office buildings. Looking specifically at the energy saved, the EPA says these buildings also typically use an average of 35% less energy and are responsible for 35% less carbon dioxide emissions.
For construction companies and building owners, green building is becoming a bigger priority and technology can certainly play a role in conserving energy on building projects.