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(credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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Mayor Annise Parker has been selected as the nation’s top winner for large cities in the 2011 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards, an initiative sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors.

As per a new release from the City of Houston:

The annual awards program in its fifth year recognizes mayors for innovative practices in their cities that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An independent panel of judges selected the winners from a pool of 130 applicants.

“The innovation and commitment of U.S. mayors is moving cities and the nation toward greater energy independence and lower carbon emissions,” said Conference President Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz.

Houston won the award for its Green Building Initiatives, including the Houston Green Office Challenge, Energy Efficiency Incentive Program and Municipal Energy Efficiency Program.

“Houston is a leader on energy efficiency, and we are proud to receive this national recognition for our work on green buildings,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.  “Improving buildings to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions is good practice and good economics.”

For the past three years in a row, the Houston metropolitan area has appeared on the EPA’s annual “top 10 list,” which ranks U.S. cities with the most Energy Star certified buildings.  Mayor Annise Parker has announced a goal to make Houston number one in the country for Energy Star and LEED certified buildings.

Houston has also been recognized by the EPA as the country’s largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy, with 33 percent of the City of Houston’s energy load provided by wind energy.

“The Houston Green Office Challenge and Energy Efficiency Incentive Program are unprecedented opportunities to bring citizens into the city-wide sustainability strategy – to make Houston a greener, cleaner and healthier place for ourselves and the future Houstonians who will inherit our great city,” said Mayor Annise Parker.

The City of Houston has worked closely with numerous partners to implement these successful green building programs, including the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), and the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

First Place Award Program Summary

«     Houston (TX) Mayor Annise Parker for its Green Building Initiatives

(Large City Category – population over 100,000)

The city has set forth a multi-year agenda to retrofit all 262 city-owned buildings, including fire stations, police stations, libraries and even performance halls, and has launched its Houston Green Office Challenge (HGOC), including its Energy Efficiency Incentive Program (EEIP), that challenges private commercial building owners/mangers and tenants to reduce energy use, among other objectives. For city-owned buildings, these improvements are expected to reduce energy use by 30 percent in more than five million square feet of office space. More than 330 private sector partners have already taken up the Green Office Challenge, with the city reimbursing building owners for 20 percent of materials and labor for qualifying improvements.

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