This post was taken from the Building Technologies Digest, which provides a weekly roundup of the latest news, funding opportunities, reports, events, and webinars from DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO). The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.
140 Million Places to Save Energy, By David Nemtzow, Acting Director
I recently spoke with two distinct audiences about the importance of buildings in the U.S. energy space. Both the FEMP Energy Exchange conference and a group hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy had roomfuls of energy savvy professionals, many – but I suspect not all – of whom recognize the scope of opportunities the U.S. buildings sector offers for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
So let’s start at the beginning: Improving energy use by buildings is at the center of the U.S.’s (and world’s) energy and climate challenges. Period.
There are currently some 130 million residential units in the United States – which most of you think as homes. We at the Building Technologies Office (BTO) are prone to think of them as energy consumption structures. The 5+ million commercial buildings that make up our offices, schools, hospitals, and grocery stores? They also represent a huge opportunity for energy savings. Together, all of these buildings represent 40% of the energy consumed within the U.S., 76% of all electricity, and are responsible for 34% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. That makes for a lot of space for improvement.
That’s what guides the work of BTO, helping improve energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings from research to locking in the savings.