WASHINGTON - While green and efficient homes are drawing considerable interest in the building industry, the number of energy-efficient commercial buildings and manufacturing plants is also growing, with a 25 percent increase last year in the number of such buildings earning the Energy Star.

In 2007 alone, more than 1,400 commercial buildings and plants earned the Energy Star label, bringing the total to nearly 4,100, with Energy Star buildings located in every state, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA, and commercial buildings that have earned the Energy Star use nearly 40 percent less energy than average buildings, producing 35 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions. About 500 of the Energy Star buildings use 50 percent less energy than average buildings. Energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly 50 percent of energy consumption nationwide.

The Energy Star buildings include about 1,500 office buildings, 1,300 supermarkets, 820 K-12 schools, and 250 hotels. In addition, more than 185 banks, financial centers, hospitals, courthouses, warehouses, dormitories, and big-box retail buildings have also earned the Energy Star. More than 35 plants that are manufacturing automobiles, cement, and ethanol have also earned the Energy Star, including for the first time three petroleum refineries in Louisiana and one each in Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, and Texas. In total, these award-winning commercial buildings and manufacturing plants have saved nearly $1.5 billion annually in energy while avoiding 25 billion pounds in carbon dioxide emissions.

For more information, see the Energy Star for Buildings and Manufacturing Plants Web page at www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=business.bus_bldgs.

Publication date:03/03/2008