America's buildings use a large share of our nation's energy, often in inefficient and wasteful ways. A host of studies, including a recent one by the National Academy of Sciences, have shown that there are plenty of cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities in America's existing buildings, enough to slash energy consumption by 30 percent or more. Meanwhile, new homes and office buildings are being built that use dramatically less energy - and sometimes no net energy at all over the course of a year.
Last week, Environment America Research & Policy Center released a new report documenting the energy savings and emission reductions that would result if America were to commit to an ambitious strategy to retrofit our existing buildings for energy efficiency and build new buildings to higher energy efficiency standards. (See also the Daily Kos write-up on the report here.) Frontier Group's own Rob Kerth contributed the numerical analysis for the report, which estimated savings for each of the 50 states.
As the federal government considers new programs, such as the Home STAR and Building STAR proposals (see Alliance to Save Energy description here), it's worth remembering that energy efficiency has the potential to deliver big benefits in dollars and cents that can last for years to come.