Department stores earn star

Four JCPenney department stores have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their energy efficiency and environmental performance.

According to the EPA, the Washington-based stores are the first retail buildings in the United States to earn the Energy Star label. The agency says the stores use about 35 percent less energy, on average, than typical retail stores in the United States. The efforts eliminate the production of more than 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and save nearly $250,000 in energy costs.

Retail buildings amass the largest energy bills and are responsible for the second largest percentage of greenhouse-gas emissions out of the nearly 5 million commercial buildings in the United States. Those which qualify for the Energy Star label must rate in the top 25 percent of similar nationwide buildings.