The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest number of energy-efficient buildings that earned EPA's Energy Star in 2009. The list is headed by Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Denver; Chicago; Houston; Lakeland, Fla.; Dallas-Fort Worth; Atlanta; and New York.

"These cities see the importance of taking action on climate change, " says Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "Communities from Los Angeles to Louisville are reducing greenhouse gases and cutting energy bills with buildings that have earned EPA's Energy Star. "

EPA first issued its ranking of cities with the most Energy Star labeled buildings last year. This year, Los Angeles remains in first place; Washington, D.C., picks up second; Denver and Chicago move into the top five; and Lakeland, Fla., and New York City are new to the top 10.

Continuing the impressive growth of the past several years, in 2009 nearly 3,900 commercial buildings earned the Energy Star, representing annual savings of more than $900 million in utility bills and more than 4.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Since EPA awarded the first Energy Star to a building in 1999, nearly 9,000 buildings across the United States have earned the Energy Star as of the end of 2009, representing more than a 40% increase over last year's total. Overall annual utility savings have climbed to nearly $1.6 billion and greenhouse gas emissions equal to the emissions of more than 1 million homes a year have been prevented.

Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for 17% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of over $100 billion per year. EPA awards the Energy Star to commercial buildings that perform in the top 25% of buildings nationwide compared to similar buildings. Thirteen types of buildings can earn the Energy Star, including schools, hospitals, office buildings, retail stores and supermarkets.

For the list of the top 25 cities in 2009 with Energy Star labeled buildings, visit the Energy Star Web site.

Access the real-time registry of all Energy Star labeled buildings from 1999 to present on the Energy Star Web site.