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D.C. Among Top Cities For Energy Efficiency In U.S.

CFL light bulbs are a small contribution to greater energy efficiency in the District.
Stephen Velasco: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21846780@N03/3962107982
CFL light bulbs are a small contribution to greater energy efficiency in the District.

Washington D.C. is a more energy-efficient city than most, according to a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (pdf).

The study ranks cities on their efficiency based on: local government operations, building policies, transportation policies, community-wide initiatives, utility policies and public benefits programs.

With a total score of 56 out of 100, Washington D.C. ranked 7th amongst the 34 most populous cities in the country.

D.C. wasn't a leader in any of the categories, but posted its strongest scores in the area of building policies, which includes energy codes, building code compliance and incentives for efficient buildings. D.C. began requiring commercial buildings larger than 200,000 sq. ft. to measure energy efficiency in 2010.

Washington D.C. was held up has an example of a government reaching out to the private sector and community members to improve energy efficiency, citing the Sustainable DC outreach efforts.

"By developing a unifying vision for energy usage in the city, these community-wide programs allow governments to leverage outside resources — funding, staff, volunteers, knowledge — to improve energy efficiency through the community," said Annie Downs, the author of the study.

Even so, the District was deemed lacking in the area of community-wide initiatives. D.C. tied Los Angeles for 27 out of 34 cities, with just 4 points. 

Boston was the highest-ranked city on the list with 76.75 points, followed by Portland, Ore., with 70 points. Third place was a tie between New York and San Francisco with 69.75 points each. Baltimore also in the top half of the list, ranking 12th with 46.5 points.

Earlier this year, Mayor Vincent Gray set a goal of making D.C. the greenest city in the country in the next 20 years.

Rank City State Local Government Operations (15 pts.) Community-Wide Initiatives (29 pts.) Building Policies (29 pts.) Energy & Water Utility Policies NS Public Benefits Programs (18 pts.) Transportation Policies (28 pts.) Total Score (100 pts.)
1 Boston MA 11 9.5 21.5 15.75 19 76.75
2 Portland OR 13.75 7.5 14.5 14.75 19.5 70
3 New York City NY 10.5 9 22 15.25 13 69.75
3 San Francisco CA 13 8 17 15.75 16 69.75
5 Seattle WA 10.75 6 22.5 14.75 11.25 65.25
6 Austin TX 9.75 9 21.5 10.75 11 62
7 Washington DC 8.25 4 21 8.75 11 56
8 Minneapolis MN 10 6.5 10 13.75 15 55.25
9 Chicago IL 10.75 8 12 13.5 10.5 54.75
10 Philadelphia PA 10.5 8.5 11.5 8.5 15.5 54.5

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