WASHINGTON - More than half the states across the nation and the District of Columbia are joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Energy Star Challenge to help building owners save energy.

Communities across the United States are facing higher energy prices this winter. The Energy Star Challenge calls on businesses, governments, schools, and others to improve their energy efficiency by 10 percent or more. EPA estimates that if each building owner met this challenge, by 2015 Americans would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 million metric tons, while saving about $10 billion.

Most facilities can save as much as 30 percent on their energy bills each year through cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, says EPA. To encourage greater investments in efficiency, EPA is working with the following states and their energy offices to reach their resident building owners: Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Connecticut (through the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Eastern Connecticut State University), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont (through Efficiency Vermont).

Through the Energy Star Challenge, state governments offer a variety of programs to help building owners assess how much energy their buildings use now, establish efficiency improvement goals of 10 percent or greater, and make efficiency improvements wherever cost effective.

Information on the Energy Star Challenge is available at www.energystar.gov.

Publication date: 12/19/2005