LA Gets Gold (Energy) Star

West
Thursday, March 25, 2010
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LA leads the country in Energy Star-rated buildings. Perhaps it will help clear up that smog problem. (Courtesy Rubicon Project)

LA is rarely thought of as the country’s greenest town, what with all the traffic and sprawl, but it’s doing a lot better than you think, as the News informs us. For the second year in a row, Los Angeles has been ranked number one in terms of energy efficient buildings, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star ratings. LA made it to the top of the list by having the most rated buildings—ones that use 35 percent less energy than the average—with 293. The top five include Washington, D.C. (204), San Francisco (173), Denver (136) and Chicago (134). This does not exactly mean it is the most efficient period, given that there are so many more buildings in LA—usual suspects like Seattle and Portland are missing from the top five, as is New York, which we’d like to think is missing because it’s so dense, though probably the real issue is that it’s so old an inefficient to begin with. Still, no matter how you look at it, this is a step in the right direction for all of us.

2 Responses to “LA Gets Gold (Energy) Star”

  1. Sara Hart says:

    As with a lot green hype, no one ever looks under the label. There are several reports that Energy Star, a self-certification program, doesn’t even verify manufacturers’ claims. Don’t expect LA to clear up anytime soon.

    “Fifteen phony products, including a gasoline-powered alarm clock, won the Energy Star label in a test of the program’s vulnerability to fraud.

    “A report released Friday says government investigators tried to pass off 20 fake products as energy efficient, and only two were rejected. Three others didn’t get a response.

    “The General Accountability Office concludes the program is susceptible to fraud and abuse.

    “The program run by the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to identify energy-efficient products to help consumers. Tax credits and rebates serve as incentives to buy Energy Star products.

    “But the GAO says Energy Star doesn’t verify claims made by manufacturers, which might explain the gasoline-powered alarm clock.

    ©2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  2. Bill Burke says:

    Sara,
    You are confusing the Energy Star program for consumer products with the Energy Star Buildings certification system. Your Energy Star Buildings certification is based upon your actual energy use as compared against benchmarks for similar types of buildings in the same area. See http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=business.bus_index.

    Also, if there are problems with Energy Star certification of consumer products, we should fix them. I’m prepared to pay higher taxes so that EPA and US Dept of Energy can actually hire staff to independently test, or manage independent testing, of the claims of manufacturers. Or propose your own solution!

    Energy Star Buildings have also shown themselves to have higher financial value in the marketplace. Read this paper at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/507394s4. It shows that EnergyStar Buildings sell for more and space in them rents for more per square foot than non-EnergyStar rated buildings of similar class in the same area.

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