Years of effort to make its Center City headquarters more energy efficient has earned SEPTA green-building bragging rights - and more than $100,000 in energy cost savings.

The transit agency announced today that its 20-story office building at 1234 Market St. has been awarded an Energy Star rating by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as acknowledgment of its steps to reduce energy consumption.

The achievement means more than just an EPA plaque that now hangs in SEPTA's lobby. Marion Coker, SEPTA's manager of strategic business planning and sustainability, said its green-building initiatives resulted in $100,000 in energy cost savings in fiscal year 2009, with higher savings expected in the current year because of a cleaning time change.

Cleaning is now performed during the day rather than at night, eliminating the need for so many lights to be on and other power sources to be tapped. Coker said that change has contributed to a 12 percent reduction in energy use.

The agency is also testing LED lighting for possible use throughout the building, which was built in 1973, and expects to make a decision early next year on using wind power, Coker said.

According to the EPA, only the top 25 percent of all energy-efficient buildings nationwide receive an Energy Star rating. It is a paperwork-intensive process involving compilation of a tremendous amount of data and other information on building operations.

Contact staff writer Diane Mastrull at 215-854-2466 or dmastrull@phillynews.com.