Austin continues its commitment to being Green! In a recent press release by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Austin, TX ranked 18th among U.S Cities with Energy Star certifications. In last month’s post we discussed Austin being ranked 12th in Leed certifications with over 55 Austin office buildings with Leed certifications. While Austin still has a long way to go to keep up with other cities, these reports continue to strengthen its commitment to the “Green” initiative to reduce energy consumption and conserve resources.
Among the top 10 U.S cities with energy star certifications are Houston and Dallas. Since 1999, over 12,600 buildings across the U.S. have been awarded this certification, saving over $1.9 billion in energy costs and preventing greenhouse gas emissions equal to 1.3 million homes’ energy use each year, according to the EPA.
In 2010 Austin had 94 buildings, totaling over 14.8 million SF, Energy Star certified. This resulted in $13.8 million in cost savings and the prevention of emissions equal to over 10,000 homes’ electricity use.
Now more than ever is the time to take energy conservation with commercial office buildings seriously. Over 20% of U.S greenhouse emissions production comes from commercial properties at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. Building commercial buildings with energy conservation in mind can be costly however the benefits and future savings far out way the costs. I think cities, including Austin, need to dig a little deeper in their pockets and spur commercial development with “Green” in mind. Doing this will create a healthier environment, save on water and energy costs, and be cheaper to operate.