New Jersey offers tax credits to businesses located near light rail. The Point at Morristown, a Green Globes-rated mixed use building, has operable Energy Star windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures, rooftop solar panels, and recycled carpet. www.thepointatmorristown.com
A newcomer to the ACEEE's Top 10 List, Wisconsin has adopted more stringent building energy codes in recent years. The state also increased investments in electric efficiency programs by 36 percent, from $54 million in 2004 to $73 million in 2006. www.focusonenergy.com
Not all old houses are energy hogs. The LEED Platinum"Live Green Live Smart" Sustainable House in Minnetonka is a renovated 1948 rambler outfitted with solar-powered electricity and hot water, geothermal heating and cooling, and a combined heat and power (CHP) system that runs on natural gas. www.livegreenlivesmart.org
Thanks to an array of eco-features, Boston's Macallen Condos save more than 600,000 gallons of water per year and beat average electrical consumption by 30 percent. The building includes a heat recovery ventilation system, water-source heat pumps, rainwater collection, and an innovative treatment system that reuses cooling tower blowdown water for irrigation.
A model for Smart Growth in downtown Seattle, Mosler Lofts stacks hip residences atop 6,000 square feet of retail, packs in amenities, and is walkable to just about everything (no car necessary) . More than 40 percent of building materials were extracted and/or manufactured within 500 miles, thus reducing the embodied energy needed to equip the job site. www.moslerlofts.com
Shared walls, shared infrastructure, and shared transportation help to maximize energy resources, but New Yorkers -- including both city-slickers and those upstate -- are still striving to do better. In June, the State Public Service Commission approved the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, which sets a goal to reduce the state's electricity usage by 15 percent by 2015.
Vermonters pay an energy efficiency charge on their electric bills to fund Efficiency Vermont (EV), a nonprofit statewide "efficiency utility" that provides technical assistance and financial incentives to homes and businesses. EV's mission is to reduce energy costs by advocating high performance equipment, lighting, and construction practices. www.efficiencyvermont.com
Efficiency and luxury needn't be mutually exclusive. Windermere on the Lake, a private community of 24 lakeside homes in Stamford, offers geothermal heating and cooling, solar-powered street lighting, heat recovery ventilation systems, and drought-tolerant landscaping. Some 50 of its 74 acres are set aside as protected habitat or open space. www.windermereonthelake.com
Not long ago, the Sierra Club tipped its hat to Portland's Pearl District and 937 Condos is one example of why. Located adjacent to a streetcar line, the LEED Gold building is topped with a 4,000 square foot vegetated roof with stormwater planters. Its slim profile and rotated floor plans are designed to make the most of natural light, reducing electrical loads. www.937condominiums.com
California's Title 24 energy code continues to be a national standard-bearer -- one that shaped projects such as The Uptown, a mixed-use complex in downtown Oakland within walking distance of a BART station and several bus lines. The site includes VIP parking for hybrid vehicles, an on-site Zip car service, and native xeriscaping that reduces irrigation needs by 50 percent. www.the uptown.net