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Push for energy-efficient building design and retrofitting picking up steam

image credit: © Raducomes -

A bipartisan bill out of the U.S. Senate aims to save billions in energy bills, energy usage, and carbon emissions by 2050 through massive investment in the construction of energy-efficient buildings and houses, and retrofitting existing structures for improvements in energy efficiency. 

The bill, supported by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the fall and now awaits its fate in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill speaks to the growing momentum behind the energy-efficient design as a means to cut energy bills, energy use, and emissions. According to a study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the bill would result in a reduction in energy bills by $51 billion, save 32 quadrillion Btu of energy and cut carbon emissions by 1.3 billion tons by 2050. 

If passed, the U.S. Department of Energy would also work with state and local governments, as well those who draft buildings and standards codes. For utilities, this could mean cost savings as well, as a massive redesign of how buildings use energy impacts how much energy utilities have to buy and provide. Of course, such a turnover would take time, but it is yet another piece of the puzzle to a more energy-efficient and sustainable world, and a crucial piece to reaching lofty emissions goals. 

Christopher Neely's picture

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Gary Hilberg's picture
Gary Hilberg on Feb 26, 2020 5:16 pm GMT

The greenest KW-hr that we have is the one that we don't use.  With the traditional short term mindset of builder of all types, investment in energy efficiency is not where it should be, since it pays back in almost all cases, and certainly with the very low cost of capital now - mortgages, included, this should be a big part of our long term plan.  The challenge that we still buy houses/buildings/infrastructure on price without considering the costs of long term cost of operations.  This higher level of upfront costs would also have the benefit of improving our economy in the short term.  

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 26, 2020 5:23 pm GMT

With the traditional short term mindset of builder of all types,

This is what's most astounding-- of all 'products' out there, buildings have the longest life so overlooking opportunities to be efficient now is one of the most short-sighted mistakes being made

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