Together they prevented the equivalent of more than 460,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, and saved more than $100 million. They’re Energy Star Leaders, 74 organizations recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for making their buildings more energy efficient.
What’s it take to be an EPA Energy Star Leader? A 10 percent improvement in energy performance gets an organization recognition, as will further annual improvements of 10 percent. “Top performer” status goes to organizations whose facilities perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide.
The EPA had particular praise for two school districts that “have taken Energy Star Leaders to new heights”: The Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania, which boosted the energy efficiency of its buildings by 40 percent, outdone only by the DeKalb County Central Unified School District in Indiana, which pulled off a 50 percent improvement.
The benefits of energy-efficient buildings are more than environmental, the EPA said, noting that the DeKalb district “has realized an average cost avoidance savings of approximately $695,000 per year over a five-year period, enabling the district to retain staff and programs, provide funding for libraries and teacher supplies, aid in increasing staff compensation, and make improvements in district facilities.”
The full list of Energy Star Leaders as of December 31, 2010, is available here.