Washington, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are three very different U.S. cities with one important thing in common: a growing number of energy-efficient buildings.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compiles an annual ranking of 25 cities with the largest number of Energy Star–certified structures. Washington, home to more than 480 certified buildings, was ranked as the leading EPA Energy Star city.

Los Angeles checked in just behind, with 475 Energy Star buildings. In the Southeast, 328 Energy Star buildings serve Atlantans.

High rise buildings, dark sky
The night skyline in Atlanta (Chuck Koehler/Wikimedia Commons)

Energy Star is a national program that encourages greater use of energy-efficient materials, methods, appliances and building systems. With continually updated ratings on consumer products, the Energy Star label has become a selling point when households, businesses and corporations make decisions about new purchases.

Products in more than 70 different categories are designed to Energy Star standards. Consumers have purchased more than 4.8 billion of these items since the program began in 1992. More than 1.5 million new homes and more than 22,000 facilities are certified to Energy Star standards, EPA reports.

The efficiency standards promoted by Energy Star have saved tremendous amounts of energy and have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 2,200 metric tons.

The San Gabriel Mountains provide a backdrop for this view of Los Angeles. (BDS2006/Wikimedia Commons)

The top three Energy Star cities announced in March also report significant energy savings from investments in more efficient buildings. The top cities say the amount of energy they have saved with more efficient buildings is the equivalent of powering about 250,000 residential homes for an entire year.

Greater efficiency in energy use results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing efficiency is also a key strategy in President Obama’s aim to move the United States to a clean energy economy and increase reliance on renewable resources like wind and solar.

What is your city doing to save energy?