The headquarters of the American Society of Landscape Architects helped Washington, D.C., rank second on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2014 list of the top U.S. cities with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings.
Cities are ranked on the list by how many buildings earned the prestigious ENERGY STAR in their area last year. ASLA's headquarters was one of 435 ENERGY STAR certified buildings in 2013 that helped Washington, D.C., make the list. To earn EPA's ENERGY STAR, buildings must be more energy efficient than 75 percent of similar buildings across the country.
"We are honored that our headquarters played a key role in Washington, D.C.'s ranking on EPA's Top Cities list this year," said Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. "Environmental stewardship has been a core value of ASLA since its founding in 1899. ASLA is fully committed to sustainable practices through program initiatives and day-to-day operations-including our headquarters. We're proud to be in a city where others are equally committed."
ASLA has participated in EPA's ENERGY STAR certification since 2008, and its headquarters building was ENERGY STAR-certified again in 2013. Among buildings the same size, ASLA's energy performance is in the top 11 percent. ASLA's headquarters employs energy-efficient systems and practices-including a green roof that reduces energy usage by 10 percent in winter months. Sustainability is part of the organization's leadership and staff culture.
ASLA offsets 100 percent of its electricity use by purchasing Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates from wind farms in the United States. An automated building management system controls access, lighting, and heating/cooling systems, and puts the building to sleep each night.
ASLA's green roof was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a leading landscape architecture firm. Some key benefits include reduced building heating and cooling costs and reduced stormwater runoff. The green roof reduces energy usage by 10 percent in winter months. It also does not contribute to D.C.'s urban heat island effect as it has been as much as 59 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than conventional black roofs on neighboring buildings.
More than 23,000 buildings across America earned EPA's ENERGY STAR certification in 2013. These buildings saved more than $3.1 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity used by more than 2.2 million homes.
"Making our nation's buildings more energy efficient is more critical than ever," said Jean Lupinacci, chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. "Organizations that earn the ENERGY STAR demonstrate how leaders across the country are embracing efforts to protect the environment while also creating financial value."
Commercial buildings that earn EPA's ENERGY STAR must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide, as verified by a professional engineer or a registered architect. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average buildings. Many types of commercial buildings can earn the ENERGY STAR, including office buildings, K-12 schools, and retail stores.
Products, homes and buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. In 2013 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved an estimated $30 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of more than 38 million homes. From the first ENERGY STAR qualified computer in 1992, the ENERGY STAR label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold. Over 1.5 million new homes and 23,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants have earned the ENERGY STAR label.
For more information about the 2014 ENERGY STAR TOP Cities list, visit www.energystar.gov/TopCities.
For more information about the American Society of Landscape Architects, visit www.asla.org.
For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov/buildings.
Image of ASLA's green roof. Credit: ASLA