For third year, District of Columbia ranks number one for Energy Star | U.S. Green Building Council
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Washington, D.C. is a leader in the nation for Energy Star-certified buildings.

For the third year in a row, Washington, D.C., has earned the number one ranking on the U.S. EPA’s annual list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the most buildings certified by Energy Star.

The top cities list ranks metropolitan areas by to the number of buildings earning Energy Star certification in 2016. To qualify, a building must outperform 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide by earning an Energy Star score of 75 or higher on a 100-point scale.

In 2016, 790 D.C.-area buildings earned an Energy Star rating, an increase of 104 buildings over 2015. What does this translate to in energy savings? The Energy Star buildings in D.C. helped the District save $167 million in total energy costs and avoid over 716,000 tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of taking over 151,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

Energy Star's website noted several facts about the D.C. area that may have contributed to its success:

  • A few local school districts contributed almost 280 buildings: Fairfax County Public Schools (151), Prince William County Public Schools (52), Loudoun County Public Schools (57, and Stafford County Public Schools (17).
  • D.C.-area initiatives such as The Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 have aimed to improve the energy efficiency of the area’s commercial buildings. 
  • Other initiatives have included tax credits and a campaign by the downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, the “Smarter Business Challenge.”
  • Federal agencies are only allowed to lease space in Energy Star-certified buildings, which means that landlords may be motivated to earn the rating in order to attract federal tenants.

DC ranks at the top for Energy Star

By the end of 2016, nearly 30,000 buildings across the U.S. had earned EPA’s Energy Star certification. Together, these buildings have saved more than $4 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of nearly three million homes. For more information about the 2017 Energy Star Top Cities list, visit

District of Columbia law requires buildings over 50,000 gross square feet to annually report their energy and water performance for public disclosure. This data is then published online.

USGBC recently sent a message to Congress in support of the EPA's Energy Star, WaterSense, and Safer Choice programs. About 500 organizations signed on to the letter, and around 300 sent individual letters to their elected officials in addition.

Learn more about the top cities