EPA Ranks Metro Detroit 9th in the Country for Energy Star Buildings

Posted on March 14, 2011

Detroit has moved up into the top 10 of metro regions with the most energy-efficient buildings.

Detroit ranked ninth on the EPA’s latest annual list of metro areas that have a large number of buildings with Energy Star ratings. Metro Detroit had 151 buildings with the efficiency rating. The city ranked 15th last year.

To win an Energy Star rating, a commercial building’s energy-efficiency efforts must score in the top 25% of comparable buildings nationwide. The savings must be verified by a licensed engineer or registered architect.

The EPA estimates that commercial buildings burn more than $100 billion a year in energy use, which accounts for nearly 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The EPA said that metro Detroit moved up the agency’s rankings in a number of ways. Among them, under an executive order issued by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the State of Michigan had established energy-saving targets for state-owned buildings.

In addition, DTE Energy launched electric and natural gas efficiency programs in 2009 and expanded them in 2010. And there were big increases in the number of K-12 schools receiving the Energy Star rating in 2010.

In its announcement, the EPA cited the American Axle & Manufacturing headquarters building in Detroit as among its Energy Star winners. Built in 2002, the AAM headquarters was designed with a number of energy-saving factors built in, including triple-paned windows to reduce heat loss.

Among other steps since then, the company has reduced its energy use further by setting indoor temperatures lower in winter and allowing them to rise in summer to cut down on heating and air-conditioning costs.

By John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press