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Laying the Foundation for Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings

March 7, 2014 - 11:47am


Watch the latest Energy 101 video above to find out how to improve energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

Currently, commercial buildings consume more than 18 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) of primary energy use annually, or about 18% of all the energy used in the nation in 2012. This includes offices, hotels, and hospitals. If these types of buildings, which also account for 18% of total U.S. carbon emissions, were retrofitted to achieve energy savings of 20%, the U.S. could save approximately $80 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 17%.

However, many commercial building owners and operators are reluctant to invest in market-ready energy-saving technologies and strategies. There are many reasons, including a lack of information about performance and risk, upfront costs, and an inability to recoup investments from tenants. To help commercial building owners and operators take action to save energy, the Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) – in partnership with industry and national laboratories – works to provide resources, information, tools, and technical assistance to accelerate investment in cost-effective building technologies and processes. 

Earlier this week, the Department announced $10 million in funding to help demonstrate and deploy energy efficiency technologies for commercial buildings, including projects that will bring next generation building systems and components to a broader market faster – helping to save building owners and businesses money by saving energy.

Through research, development, and deployment of these innovative and cost-effective technologies, BTO seeks to provides the building industry with frameworks, guides, resources, and tools to:

Watch the latest Energy 101 video above to find out how to improve energy efficiency of commercial buildings through strategies and technologies, including whole-building design where these advanced technologies are fully integrated to improve a building’s performance. Highlighted in the video is the award-winning Research Support Facility at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. It serves as a sustainable model for high-performing buildings.