Last week, I posted a blog about a not-so-flattering list of cities ranked as “most toxic” by where MNN’s hometown of Atlanta took top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it) prize. Now, here’s a more positive city-rankings list released by the Environmental Protection Agency: cities with the most newly built, EnergyStar-qualified homes.

The EnergyStar for New Homes program began in 1995 and just hit the 1 millionth-home-built mark … quite impressive. In 2008, 17 percent of all newly built, single-family homes were EnergyStar-qualified, a 5 percent jump from 2007. Collectively, these 1 million green homes across the nation will save $270 million on utility bills — an estimated $200 to $400 per home — this year and prevent 4 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the environment.

So where have all these new, energy-efficient homes been built over the last 14 years? According to the EPA, a huge chunk of them are in Texas. The Houston and Dallas-Forth Worth areas took the top two spots in the EPA’s list of the top 20 cities for EnergyStar homes. Together, the two Texan towns boast 247,292 EnergyStar homes.

The top 10 cities in the EPA’s list, with the exception of New York, are all in the West, Southwest or Texas. Check out the complete list below to see if your hometown made the cut and check out the EnergyStar for New Homes webpage where you can learn more about the program.

1. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas: 144,420

2. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas: 102,872

3. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.: 79,929

4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.: 73,021

5. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario: 53,673

6. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.: 25,168

7. Tucson: 18,970

8. San Antonio: 18,847

9. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.: 18,208

10. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos: 17,515

11. Columbus, Ohio: 17,396

12. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa: 16,400

13. Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.: 13,675

14. Austin-Round Rock, Texas: 13,232

15. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.: 12,454

16. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont: 10,523

17. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass., and N.H.: 10,192

18. Denver-Aurora, Colo.: 7,809

19. Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.: 7,619

20. Oklahoma City, Okl.: 7,498

Via [Los Angeles Times]

Photo: Jetson Green

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Houston leads the energy-efficient pack
Since 1995, 1 million Energy Star-rated homes have been built. Find out which cities can claim "most Energy Star homes" bragging rights.