Energy efficient buildings push gains, build momentum in America

June 8, 2012

The public sector is joining the U.S. government in pushing for more energy efficient buildings in America, as increased investment in this sector will help organizations throughout the country cut operating costs while also benefitting the environment.

This type of dual benefit is exactly what the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other agencies are trying to promote. The DOE designated an innovation Hub to accomplish this goal, as enticing the private sector with cost-reduction data may help to stimulate investment in more efficient commercial buildings.

The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), headquartered at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard, represents a collaboration between the government, private sector, academia and energy development companies to help transform the commercial real estate sector in the Greater Philadelphia region.

By encouraging companies to use retrofits and other tools to make buildings more energy efficient, the EEB Hub is helping the DOE cut energy consumption levels that commercial structures are responsible for in the U.S.

The DOE is also working with the Obama Administration to achieve this goal, as the Better Buildings Challenge has gained momentum and acquired new investment from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), according to a release.

PG&E is working with the government to provide energy efficient programs that will reach 30 million square feet of its commercial customers by 2015, the release noted.

"Partners in the Better Buildings Challenge are demonstrating how energy-efficient buildings save energy and money – and create jobs," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We look forward to working with these leaders as they upgrade their facilities and create solutions and strategies for others to follow."

The partnership will help to bring energy savings to customers, while also reducing the waste – on average 30 percent of energy associated with buildings is not consumed efficiently.

"Customers, businesses and communities all share a stake in our success, and the Better Buildings Challenge represents a new and important way for us to work together," said Helen Burt, senior vice president and chief customer officer of PG&E.

Chicago has recently announced an effort to lower consumption levels of commercial buildings in the city, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted that 14 structures had signed on to be retrofitted, according to NBC Chicago.

"Today is a major step forward for the City of Chicago, as we create a private sector complement for the work we are doing to ensure energy efficiency in our municipal buildings and infrastructure," Emanuel said in a statement.