D.C. region has second-largest number of green buildings in the nation, EPA says

The Washington area has the second-largest number of green buildings in the country for the fifth year in a row, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.

The region’s 435 Energy Star-certified buildings often use at least one-third less energy than comparable buildings. Increasingly popular energy efficiency tools include LED lights, real-time energy usage data, rooftop gardens, electricity remote control and automation, according to the EPA.

Los Angeles has the most Energy Star-certified buildings, with 443; there are 23,000 Energy Star-certified buildings nationwide. Atlanta and New York City were named third and fourth in the rankings, respectively.

“The cities on this list demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits achieved by facility owners and managers when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their buildings,” the EPA said in a statement.

Energy Star-certified buildings in the Washington area include the French and Swedish embassies and the American Society of Landscape Architects, all in the District; Ashburn Elementary School in Ashburn, Va.; Verizon Wireless in Falls Church, Va.; and Sunrise Assisted Living in Arlington, Va. The EPA defines the D.C. metropolitan area as including parts of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia, based on census data.

Green legislation, including Energy-Star certification, has been part of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s agenda. His overall vision for transforming the city’s infrastructure includes audits of buildings’ energy efficiency as well as loans and grants to homeowners and businesses seeking to reduce their carbon footprints.

Commercial buildings account for 17 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.

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