Riverside-SB-Ontario area ranked 6th in US for energy-efficient buildings
The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area has been named sixth in the nation for its number of Energy Star-certified buildings, which highlights the region’s and the city of Riverside’s efforts to cut energy costs while increasing efficiency and reducing emissions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its findings last week, with Riverside’s region ranked below “metropolitan statistical areas” for Los Angeles, the District of Columbia, Atlanta, San Francisco and New York.
“Riverside is strongly committed to sustainability, and that is evident in these results,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said in a statement. “Our city, and our own Riverside Public Utilities, are at the forefront in our region when it comes to helping residents and business owners become more efficient, which helps us reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The region made the strongest gains among what the EPA terms “top cities,” rising 12 spots from last year’s ranking of 18th. The Denver MSA also finished in sixth place, a slight improvement from its eighth-place finish last year.
The Los Angeles MSA came in first for the fourth consecutive year with 748 Energy Star certified-buildings. The Riverside and Denver MSAs each had 230 buildings, of which more than 60 are in the city of Riverside.
Other California MSAs on the list include San Francisco, ranked fourth with 343 buildings; San Diego, ranked 14th with 170 buildings; San Jose was no. 18 with 110 buildings; and Sacramento was 21st with 88 buildings.
“It is gratifying to see our region recognized for sustainability,” Mayor Pro Tem Clarissa Cervantes said in a statement. “These investments are paying dividends already in terms of increased energy efficiency and will be even more important as we continue to fight the effects of climate change.”
For nearly 10 years Riverside Public Utilities has encouraged the city’s large and small customers to participate in the agency’s energy efficiency programs.
“Commercial customers can work with an account manager to implement industry best practices to save energy and help their bottom line,” according to the city’s announcement. “Each program helps support customers achieve Energy Star certification.”
These programs include assisting small-businesses with implementing energy efficiency tools and techniques; a refrigerated load program to support businesses that are more dependent on refrigeration for their operation; and an outdoor lighting effort that helps businesses replace energy-intensive parking lot lights with high-efficiency LED lighting, officials said.
Buildings that are Energy Star-certified use an average of 35% less energy and emit 35% less carbon dioxide than typical buildings, according to the city of Riverside. That represents a significant reduction “because commercial buildings are responsible for 16% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and spend more than $190 billion per year on energy.”
Throughout the U.S., buildings are often the largest carbon emitters and are responsible for between 30% and over 70% of a city’s total emissions, the EPA reported.
Last year, more than 7,000 commercial buildings in the U.S. earned an Energy Star, according to the EPA. To date nearly 41,000 buildings are certified, saving $5.4 billion on energy bills and keeping more than 22 million metric tons of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Since 1992, Energy Star and its partners helped Americans save more than $500 billion in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 billion metric tons.
“In many cities, a majority of greenhouse gas emissions results from the energy used by buildings,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “I applaud this year’s top cities, as well as the owners and managers of each Energy Star certified building in them, for taking real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help America address the climate crisis.”