Report finds energy transparency laws could lead to jobs, cut energy costs

March 30, 2012

A national building energy rating and disclosure policy would create more than 59,000 jobs and cut energy costs by more than $18 billion through 2020, according to a study from the Institute for Market Transformation.

Environmental Leader reported that the "Analysis of Job Creation and Energy Cost Savings from Building Energy Rating and Disclosure Policy" was compiled with the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and noted that a transparent and systematic evaluation of a building's energy use would help to incentivize property owners to improve their structures.

The report highlighted how an adoption of the policies that would create these incentives could also reduce the energy consumption levels in the U.S. building sector by roughly 0.2 quadrillion BTU by 2020, a number that is equal to taking more than 3 million cars off the road each year during that period.

Several barriers exist for the sector, as private investment is constricted due to a lack of energy performance recognition in the marketplace and a dearth of knowledge from building owners regarding the energy performance improvement opportunities that exist, according to the report.

"Many building owners and operators lack knowledge about the energy performance and historical energy consumption trends of their buildings," the authors noted. "Energy rating is an established best practice that helps owners and operators track building energy performance, assess energy efficiency investment opportunities, and manage and control energy consumption and related costs."

Clean Technica reported that the research shows that an adoption of transparency would help to create jobs through increased private investment – which would channel into training workers, upgrading equipment and retuning mechanical systems.

According to Environmental Leader, this type of move would also signal to businesses that the U.S. is committed to a move toward energy efficiency. This would help to attract more capital to the market, and bolster the effort that has been put in by the American government in recent years to promote a new energy policy.

The U.S. Department of Energy designated an innovation HUB to further the sector, as the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) is working to enact a change in the industry that will cut energy costs and usage and create jobs.