Environment

For the third year in a row, the Louisville metro area has made a national list of the 25 cities with the most Energy Star buildings. But for the past three years, the city’s position on the list has remained fairly static.

Energy Star is a federal program that certifies buildings that meet energy-efficiency goals. Cities like Louisville have promoted the program as a way for commercial building owners to lower their energy costs, as well as cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

“When we use less energy, we use less coal-fueled power, which can contribute to cleaner air,” said Louisville Metro Sustainability Director Maria Koetter. “We feel like Energy Star is a great vehicle for the public to understand why it’s so important because it’s a commonly used term, you see it on appliances. So we like to promote that for buildings, and it does go towards the overall goal of making Louisville a more sustainable city.”

In 2013, Louisville officials set a goal of returning the city to the top 25 ranking list by 2018, and getting into the top 10 by 2025. It met the first goal several years early. But since then, the city has struggled to move up in the rankings. Louisville was ranked 25th in 2014, 24th in 2015 and now 25th again.

Koetter said she thinks the city still has room to move up on the list.

“I don’t think we’re losing momentum; I would like to think we’re building steam,” she said. “But what we do see is organizations sign up a number of buildings at one time.”

Like during the years Jefferson County Public Schools or Kroger have certified a number of their buildings at once. This year, the city has 55 buildings on the list, and all of the new additions to the list are public schools.

The EPA estimates that Louisville’s 55 Energy Star buildings are saving their owners $4 million a year in energy costs. Louisville peer cities Indianapolis and Charlotte also made the list.