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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Six California Cities Make Energy Star's Top Cities List


The Golden State really is golden. Six California cities made the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Top Cities list. The seventh annual list ranks the top 25 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the most Energy Star-certified buildings in 2014.

Los Angeles -- the second most populated city in the U.S. -- made the list’s second spot, while San Francisco made the fifth spot. The other California cities on the list are: Riverside (No.14), San Diego (17), Sacramento (19) and San Jose (22). On the East Coast, Washington, D.C. came in at No. 1, followed by Atlanta at No. 3 and New York at No. 4.

Here’s how much carbon emissions the six California cities have reduced:

  • Los Angeles: 321,139 metric tons

  • San Francisco: 250,826 tons

  • San Jose: 22,077 tons

  • Sacramento: 51,767 tons

  • Riverside: 30,821 tons

  • San Diego: 48,255 tons
“San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose have saved over $150 million and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 324,670 tons because of energy-efficient buildings and upgrades,” said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest office, in a statement. “Nationwide, these efforts are essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the negative effects of climate change."

“Cities across Southern California have saved more than $196 million and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 400,215 tons because of energy efficient buildings and upgrades," Blumenfeld continued.

Energy-efficient buildings are increasing, and they are saving money while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Since 1999, over 25,000 buildings throughout the U.S. have earned EPA’s Energy Star certification. These Energy Star-certified buildings have saved almost $3.4 billion on utility bills and prevented GHG emissions equivalent to the annual electricity use of almost 2.4 million homes. Energy Star-certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent fewer GHG emissions than non-certified buildings.

Check out the whole list here, and see how your city stacked up.

California leads in energy-efficiency programs

Why do six California cities make the Energy Star Top Cities list? The answer is simple: Since the 1970s, California has led the U.S. in energy-efficiency programs. The state’s per-capita energy use has “remained flat,” according to the California Public Utilities Commission, while energy use in the rest of the U.S. has increased by about 33 percent.

California will continue to lead in energy efficiency. Back in January, during his inaugural address, Gov. Jerry Brown announced a new energy policy. Part of that policy is doubling the efficiency of existing buildings by 2030. Meeting the new energy policy “will require enormous innovation, research and investment.” Luckily, California has Silicon Valley, where innovation, research and investment are commonplace.

Image credit: David Yu

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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