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Want to be Efficient? Use Less Energy

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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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The term task force was originally introduced by the the United States Navy but has since become a common phrase referring to a group assigned to a specific job, responsibility or duty.  

President Biden’s National Climate Task Force has been tasked with creating ‘a government-wide plan to protect homeowners and consumers, businesses and workers, and the federal government from economic impacts of climate change.’ Formed in June 2022, the task force immediately turned to energy efficiency to reach their goal.

To accelerate the adoption of modern building codes, the National Climate Task Force approved the new National Initiative to Advance Building Codes.  A recent analysis from FEMA revealed the need for new building codes.  The report found that less than 25 percent of communities, in 39 states, have up-to-date codes in place.  In fact, two out of every three communities in the U.S. have not adopted the latest building codes.  The US Department of Energy (DOE) says building codes are important because they allow for improvements in energy efficiency, and help buildings be more resilient.  The DOE will provide $225 million in grants to to those pursuing energy efficiency through the adoption of the most recent building energy codes.   “The vast majority of people live in older houses. Renovating now, replacing windows, throwing out the gas heating - this helps to save costs and goes hand in hand with climate protection,” said economy minister Robert Habeck. 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says 30 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted. Retrofitting and repairing commercial and residential buildings to increase efficiency will lower consumer costs but the best way to save energy is by not using it.  “Using less energy is the cheapest and most efficient contribution to more independence and climate protection and helps to save on energy costs,” said Habeck.

New building codes will promote safety and reduce emissions.  Upgrades range from fire-resistant materials, insulation, double glazing, solar panels, or new heating systems.  Some are concerned about the impact energy efficiency standards will have on new construction but others support awareness and believe the demand for energy efficient homes is increasing.  “The effect for energy saving and climate protection is around 4.5 times higher with energy-efficient building renovation than with new construction,” Habeck said.

Communities that have adopted modern building codes are already saving an estimated $1.6 billion a year.  DOE projects that state and local implementation of the latest building energy codes could achieve savings of up to $138 billion over 30 years.  Will the energy savings from new building codes outweigh the cost of delay in new construction?  

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