Four Michigan small cities rank among the top 10 of their peers nationally for energy efficiency based on the number of buildings saving electricity, costs and greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this week.
Jackson was No. 1 among small U.S. cities in the 2020 ENERGY STAR ranking, a program through the EPA that promotes energy efficiency through a variety of products and buildings.
The rankings are based on the total number of buildings with an ENERGY STAR certification in 2019. Certification is valid for a year and is based on energy performance, using an average of 35 percent less electricity than typical buildings and causing 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Jackson had 50 ENERGY STAR-certified buildings — including churches, schools and hotels — in its metro area comprising 2.3 million square feet of floor area. According to the EPA, the facilities prevented 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and saved more than $1.1 million in electricity costs.
Traverse City ranked sixth with 13 buildings and a similar amount of cost and emissions savings as Jackson. Ionia and Muskegon followed in the top 10.
While Michigan had a strong presence in the small city category, it had no representation in the large and mid-size city categories.
The recognition of buildings is part of ENERGY STAR’s broader annual awards that recognize businesses’ and organizations’ contributions to energy efficiency.
Jackson-based Consumers Energy was awarded for sustained excellence in its energy efficiency program, while General Motors Co. was awarded for its energy management. According to the EPA, General Motors invested more than $90 million in energy projects last year and has reduced manufacturing energy intensity by 18 percent since 2010, saving more than $122 million.