Commercial buildings could use a weatherization stimulus, too.
- Jun 5, 2022 2:09 am GMT
The U.S. government put nearly $4 billion into its decades-old Weatherization Assistance Program, which aims to help low-income families retrofit their homes to make it more energy-efficient. In the early days of the program, this might mean replacing drafty windows and adding better insulation. Today, it means replacing light bulbs, old appliances and swapping out gas-powered heat pumps.
With its current purse, the program will aim to serve 700,000 households, reducing emissions by a reported 2.65 metric tons per year. This is an important and critical program, but it might serve the country's climate goals to also stimulate a commercial building weatherization program as well, with a focus on comprehensive retrofitting.
Understandably, there might be a hesitancy among taxpayers to finance the weatherization of a private business that should be doing the work on its own; however, commercial buildings are major players in the country's emissions and energy use, and tackling efficiency in the commercial sector could pay off major dividends. Commerical buildings consume 35% of the energy consumed in the U.S. and contribute 16% of the country's carbon emissions. They consume more energy than all of Canada and, on top of all that, 30% of energy used in commercial buildings is wasted.
A recent paper out of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says comprehensive retrofits of commercial building could cut their energy use by 40%. The U.S. Dept. of Energy has a Commercial Buildings Integration program aimed specifically at this type of work in the private sector. Perhaps it, too, would benefit from a few billion dollars. In fact, I think the country as a whole, and its climate goals, would benefit.
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