Efficiency retrofits could reduce energy costs for U.S.

March 21, 2012

The green building industry has faced an uphill battle in trying to get more organizations to adopt energy efficiency retrofits, but a recent study may shed some light as to how effective this move would be for many companies and owners of the associated structures, Green Tech Media reported.

According to the news outlet, there has been recent progress made in the industry, and a recent study by Deutsche Bank and The Rockefeller Institute affirmed these potential savings.

The study showed that the return on investment is significant for these projects, both in terms of costs and a reduction of consumption and carbon emissions. The research noted that if the U.S. made an investment of $279 billion in energy efficient buildings and green energy retrofits, it would be able to capitalize on savings of more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

However, although these savings have been outlined in various studies, and the value of these renovations has been demonstrated, Green Tech Media reported that incentives are split in the commercial building industry. Property tends to change hands and occupants more frequently than the residential sector, and tenants tend to be insulated from energy price fluctuations – eliminating some of the motivation for making the investment in efficient technology.

Deeper retrofits tend to provide more results and offer a better cost incentive for long-term building owners and tenants, according to the news source, and these may prove to be an easier sell than smaller adjustments that will not improve the bottom line by a large margin.

Although bigger retrofits could transform a building more and reduce long-term costs, any type of switch is beneficial. According to Green Building Elements, a lighting adjustment and retrofit can help to provide significant change for offices and employees.

The news source reported that these changes can help to enhance the environmental credentials of a buildings, lead to a rise in employee productivity and safety, make the office more attractive, add comfort and help to provide long-term environmental benefits.

These types of changes are what the Department of Energy are trying to motivate companies around the U.S. to adopt, as it is looking to reduce the 40 percent total energy consumption that commercial buildings are responsible for.

The DOE designated an innovation HUB to help design and develop technology for more efficient commercial structures. Known as the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings, this effort is led by Pennsylvania State University and features the brightest minds from the private sector, academia, government and the energy development industry.