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EPA Honors Nation’s Best in Energy-Efficient Building Design - Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR Projects Honored at the American Institute of Architects Convention

Release Date: 05/12/2011
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Joe Hubbard at 214-665-2200 or

(DALLAS –May 12, 2011) Today, at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention in New Orleans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that 79 commercial building design projects achieved Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR certification in the past year. Together, the projects are estimated to save nearly 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually and more than $7 million in annual energy costs across nearly 6.5 million square feet. Twelve of the projects attained an estimated CO2 emissions reduction of 50% or more—meeting AIA and industry goals for a 50-percent CO2 reduction in new construction by 2030.

“Through the American Institute of Architects, America leads the way in energy efficiency and sustainable developments,” said Al Armendariz, EPA Regional Administrator. “Those acknowledged today show great commitment to preserving the environment and reducing the carbon footprint.”

If built as designed, EPA estimates that they will prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions from more than 54,000 vehicles per year and save more than $26 million in annual energy costs.

For the past several years, EPA and AIA have worked together to promote the Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR certification for new building design projects. This year, a competition among AIA Chapters was held to see which of three regional teams across the United States would cross the finish line with the most projects. The Big Easy Central team came in with the most projects, with a total of 40 that achieved the certification.

The Community Church Unitarian Universalist in New Orleans, designed by Brian Gille Architects, is the first house of worship to achieve Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR certification and was among the projects recognized at this year’s AIA Convention.

An architecture firm can achieve the certification for its projects by comparing the project’s intended energy performance against the average energy use of comparable operating buildings using EPA’s no-cost, online tool, Target Finder . Once the building is occupied, owners can track its actual energy performance using Portfolio Manager , EPA’s ENERGY STAR measurement and tracking tool, and earn ENERGY STAR certification if the building performs as intended.

Energy Star was started by EPA in 1992 as a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products as well as new homes and commercial and industrial buildings that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by EPA. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved approximately $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles.

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