Energy efficient buildings: Saving big on heating and cooling through use of green technology

April 23, 2012

Commercial building owners in the U.S. could save an average of 38 percent on their heating and cooling bills if they choose to install a series of energy efficiency controls, according to CleanTechnica.

Though the level of savings is dependent on where the structure is located, due to the climate of the metropolitan area, building owners in Duluth, Minnesota, can expect roughly the same lowered costs as their counterparts in Seattle, Washington, 35 and 36 percent, respectively.

According to the news outlet, the estimated savings for building owners around the company were based on data that has been compiled by companies across the country using computer modeling and simulation of building energy usage.

These cost-cutting benefits of energy efficient technology have been highlighted by many experts in the industry, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, CleanTechnica reported.

"Investing in an American economy that is built to last includes taking advantage of all of America’s energy resources while working to improve efficiency," said Chu. "By making heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in buildings more energy efficient, American businesses can save a significant amount of money by saving energy."

IBM's "building whisperer" David Bartlett noted that the advances that have been made in sustainable technology for buildings come through a trial and error process, and data is used to make improvements to the sector.

However, he told VentureBeat that an extensive study of a building may be necessary prior to any serious renovation project.

"Most buildings don’t have a good way to look at all their systems holistically," Bartlett told the news source. "It’s like buying a car without a dashboard to tell you when the oil is running low or the engine is running too hot."

Bartlett spoke to the need for more retrofitting and less construction, saying that rebuilding is not always the choice that is best for the company. Installing some technology and making minor changes can be the most practical options for some businesses.

Retrofit projects have been advocated by organizations around the country, including the Department of Energy-designated innovation HUB for the sector, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings.

The GPIC is comprised of a team of the brightest minds from academia, the energy development industry, the private sector and government and is working to transform the commercial real estate market.