Federal push for energy efficient buildings supported by businesses

August 2, 2012

The easiest way for a country to spur innovation and to inspire change is to link government with industry, as federal funding for research and development that is supported by the private sector helps to break down previously existing barriers.

America was pulled out of the depression by a combined effort to ramp up war preparations and bolster the country's manufacturing and production capacity, and several new government efforts are trying to mirror this past success. Instead of fighting foreign sovereignties, however, the U.S. is now looking to battle rising carbon emissions and energy shortages.

The energy efficient buildings sector is being developed through a number of partnerships and initiatives sponsored or spearheaded by the federal government. The Department of Energy has established an innovation Hub specifically to spur progress in the industry, and the effort is reliant on the brightest minds from the private sector, energy development companies, academia and public organizations.

The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) is headquartered in Philadelphia, and is looking to promote change in the real estate sector within the city, as new developments at the site help to make retrofits more attractive to businesses.

The site, located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, allows scientists and researchers to take on projects with a more creative mindset, spurring innovation and creating an atmosphere conducive to progressive design and thinking.

"It’s this really unique playground for us," Christine Knapp, of the EEB, told Naked Philly.

The combination of public and private interests is part of what drives success at the EEB Hub, and businesses stand to benefit from any discoveries or advances in the field that result from the effort.

The private sector, in the form of a letter from 1,258 businesses, expressed its gratitude toward the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for advances in the green buildings sector spurred by this type of innovative approach to cutting carbon emissions.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council's website, the GSA was commended for its leadership in improving energy and environmental performance in its buildings. The updating of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rules and requirements has led businesses to adopt a number of changes, leading to more efficiency in commercial properties across the country.

"The private sector uses LEED to both verify and communicate the quality of high performance buildings," said the companies in the letter.