Energy efficient building investments increase around U.S.

October 19, 2011

Several organizations and counties across the U.S. have increased their push for adopting buildings that are more energy efficient to help reduce the carbon footprint left by these structures and to lower electricity costs.

The movement has gained momentum in the past several years due to the fact that 5 million commercial buildings in the country account for 40 percent of the total energy consumption. Reducing this number is the goal of the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE has designated a site, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings project (GPIC), as a living laboratory for the development and design of buildings and technology to achieve this goal.

Local efforts lack the funding of this massive project, but counties across the U.S. have put forth effort to help the nationwide cause.

Natrona County in Wyoming is one of these areas. The Casper Star-Tribune reported that the local government is working with the Wyoming Energy Conservation Improvement Program and several companies to try and develop a feasibility study and to asses buildings in the area.

According to the news source, the program would work towards the eventual retrofitting of local buildings to help lower the long-term costs for providing energy.

"The obligation is you give us access to your facilities, you give us access to your utility bills," David Stout, a representative for one of the companies, told the county commissioners at their work session. "In return, I would bring my engineers up and look at the facilities and we would put together a utility bill analysis and put together solution ideas."

A similar initiative was launched by several counties in Tennessee, as these local governments have applied for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block grants from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, The Associated Press reported.

These grants could provide the counties with a variety of projects that range from retrofitting lighting, heating and cooling systems, as well as installing renewable resources in buildings, according to the news outlet.

WDXE Radio in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, reported that the Lawrence County Government is applying for this grant in an effort to lower energy consumption and the total emissions of the buildings in the area.

"We are hopeful that we will be granted the opportunity to implement these projects that will benefit our county," Chris Jackson, commissioner for the county's energy efficiency committee, told the news source.