Apr 28, 2023 - Climate

Atlanta is one of the best cities in America for energy-efficient buildings

Data: Energy Star; Chart: Axios Visuals

Metro Atlanta ranks third in the nation for the number of Energy Star-certified buildings dotting the landscape, trailing only L.A. and D.C.

Why it matters: Commercial and residential buildings account for more than 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA and the White House's National Building Performance Standard Coalition.

  • Atlantans are settling into a hybrid work schedule, now that most pandemic restrictions have been lifted. That means a lot more lights turning on, toilets getting flushed and A/C units running.

By the numbers: The EPA, which sets the Energy Star criteria, says metro Atlanta's green buildings cover 93.7 million square feet — roughly 35 Empire State Buildings — and save an estimated $67 million a year in energy costs.

  • And they keep more than 258,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere.

Of note: Many of the buildings are clustered in major business districts like Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead in Atlanta as well as Cumberland and North Fulton outside I-285.

Reality check: Energy-efficient buildings are just one part of an overall strategy to reduce climate emissions.

  • Transportation — which includes cars, trucks, air travel and railroads — accounts for 27% of the United States' greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.
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