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Washington, DC Number One on EPA’s 2017 Top Cities List

Monday, June 26, 2017
Metro Region Home to Most ENERGY STAR® Certified Buildings for Third Year in a Row

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser and the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) announced that for the third year in a row, Washington, DC has earned the number one ranking on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) annual list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY STAR® certified buildings.

“Washington, DC is honored to top EPA’s 2017 Top Cities list,” said Mayor Bowser. “We continue to be a national leader in energy efficiency and green building, and these efforts by the private sector are critical to achieving our Sustainable DC goals. Washington, DC is committed to being a leader on issues related to climate change, and we will continue taking steps to lower our energy costs while building more sustainable and resilient neighborhoods.”

The 2017 Top Cities list ranks metropolitan areas according 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. From 2009 to 2014, Los Angeles, California held the number one spot until Washington, DC took the title in 2015. In 2016, 790 local buildings earned an ENERGY STAR rating, an increase of 104 buildings over 2015. Last year, DC’s ENERGY STAR buildings 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.

“As the first jurisdiction in the nation to pass a benchmarking law, we recognize the importance of performance data as the foundation for all energy efficiency initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said DOEE Director Tommy Wells. “Buildings consume the most energy and are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the District, but as property owners continue to track their energy and water use, they are taking steps to reduce energy consumption. Through innovative regulatory policies, renewable energy programs, and incentives, we will continue to push the envelope on energy efficiency, green building, and climate change mitigation.”

District of Columbia law requires buildings over 50,000 gross square-feet to annually measure and report their energy and water performance for public disclosure; key data for each building is then published online. 2011 to 2015 benchmarking data for 1,500 public and private buildings is available on DOEE’s website and on the District’s open data portal. The 2016 data will be released in the next few weeks.

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 For more information about the District’s energy benchmarking program, visit

Since taking office, Mayor Bowser has made clear her commitment to reducing the District’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2032 and improving sustainability and resilience efforts across all eight wards. Most recently, the Administration launched SolarWorks DC, which will provide up to 75 District residents annually with training and employment to install solar energy systems on low-income single family homes in Washington, DC.

Today, the Administration also launched the 2017 cohort of the Green Zone Environmental Program (GZEP), part of the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program. GZEP will provide more than 300 youth and young adults, ages 14 to 24, with an opportunity to learn about energy and environmental issues and complete community-based environmental work projects while preparing for sustainability-focused careers.