To come up with the results, analysts examined the growth of Energy Star- and LEED-certified office spaces since 2005 in the 30 largest U.S. markets.
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Less than 5 percent of U.S. office buildings in 2005 were certified as “green” or “efficient,” researchers wrote. Since then, the statistic jumped to 38 percent.
Atlanta moved up from fifth place last year to claim the No. 3 spot, ranking it right behind Chicago, Illinois (No. 1) and San Francisco, California (No. 2).
Atlanta has appeared in the top five every year, but this is its highest rank to date.
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Of all the office spaces in Atlanta, researchers found more than half (55 percent) are “green certified,” labeled as Energy Star- or LEED-certified spaces.
The metro ranked second overall (behind Manhattan, New York) for the highest percentage of Energy Star-certified buildings and for the total number of certified buildings.
The top 10 “green” U.S. office markets, according to the study:
- Chicago, Illinois
- San Francisco, California
- Houston, Texas
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
- Los Angeles, California
- Denver, Colorado
- Washington, D.C.
- Seattle, Washington
- Manhattan, New York
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In 2015, the city of Atlanta adopted the commercial buildings energy efficiency ordinance requiring that commercial buildings spanning at least 25,000 square feet annually measure and publish their energy and water use.
The goal is to see a 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from commercial buildings by the year 2030, according to Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed.
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In addition to the CBRE-Maastricht University study, Atlanta was recognized as the No. 5 top Energy Star city in the country, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2017 Energy Star Top Cities list.
According to the EPA ranking, Atlanta had 351 Energy Star-certified buildings in 2016, which helped save the city $72 million.
Read the full CBRE-Maastricht University index.