The area of building efficiency affords tremendous opportunities for both economic growth and reduced environmental impacts. Buildings are the single largest emitters of greenhouse gases. According to a UNEP study titled “Towards a Green Economy,” homes and businesses are responsible for 40 percent of the climate change causing carbon pollution. The potential savings from efficiency are huge, particularly when partnered with increased energy productivity. The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released a report that suggested a strategy to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. The commission is comprised of a diverse coalition of energy leaders including representatives from energy utilities, academia, industry and environmental groups.
The commission found that getting twice as much output could reduce U.S. carbon dioxide pollution by one-third below 2005 levels. Achieving the commission’s goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030 would also:
- Add 1.3 million jobs
- Cut average household energy costs by more than $1,000 a year
- Save American businesses $169 billion a year
- Increase gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 2 percent
- Decrease energy imports by more than $100 billion a year
- Reduce CO2 emissions by one-third