WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that more than 3,200 top performing buildings have earned the Energy Star for reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. These award-winning buildings represent almost 575 million square feet, save an estimated $600 million annually in lower energy bills, and prevent almost 11 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, equal to emissions from almost 900,000 vehicles.

The buildings that earned the Energy Star in 2006 included about 320 supermarkets, 320 office buildings, and 200 K-12 schools. Almost 90 banks, courthouses, financial centers, hospitals, hotels, and - for the first time - dormitories also earned the Energy Star.

According to the EPA, America’s desire for environmentally friendly buildings is growing, and superior energy efficiency - identified by the Energy Star - is a critical element of green building. Those buildings that earn the Energy Star use about 35 percent less energy than average buildings. Moreover, about 400 Energy Star buildings use 50 percent less energy than average buildings.

Building owners earn the Energy Star by scoring in the top 25 percent on EPA’s energy performance rating system, which calculates scores based on actual energy use. With interest in energy efficiency growing, Energy Star is said to offer easy-to-use tools and guidelines that can help building owners and managers in the United States realize significant energy and dollar savings.

For the complete list of Energy Star buildings by state, go to www.energystar.gov/labeledbuildings.

For more information on Energy Star, go to www.energystar.gov.

Publication date:02/19/2007