Portland 12th in commercial building efficiency

Here’s one list where Los Angeles handily beats Portland for some eco-oriented bragging rights.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its annual ranking of the top 25 cities with the most Energy Star-labeled buildings and Portland came in at the middle of the pack at No. 12 with 80 Energy Star-rated buildings at the end of 2009. The good news is that’s better than 2008 when Portland was 18th on the list.

The EPA reports that in all Portland has 13.6 million square-feet of Energy Star-labeled buildings that have saved $11.1 million in energy costs and prevented emissions equal to 7,600 home’ electricity use.

Of course the relatively small size of Portland’s commercial market puts the city at a disadvantage against places such as Los Angeles (No. 1 with 293 rated buildings), Washington, D.C., (No. 2 with 204 rated buildings) and San Francisco (No. 3 with 173 rated buildings).

Since EPA awarded the first Energy Star to a building in 1999, nearly 9,000 buildings across the country have earned the Energy Star as of the end of 2009, representing more than a 40 percent increase over last year’s total.

The Energy Star commercial building applies to a range of buildings including hospitals, hotels, courthouses and manufacturing facilities. To earn the Energy Star rating, buildings must be at least 5,000 square feet (with exceptions for banks, houses of worship and hospitals.)

The Portland-based Earth Advantage Institute, a sustainable building education and certification organization, recently launched its Earth Advantage Commercial Program to provide a rating to benchmark the design, construction and operation of high-performance small commercial buildings. The pilot commercial program, which looks at additional factors beyond energy efficiency, is aimed at projects between 10,000 and 70,000 square feet.

A list of all the Energy Star-rated buildings is available on the EPA’s Energy Star Web site.

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