U.S. government eyes energy efficient buildings as key to overall reduction in use

September 6, 2012

There are numerous efforts in the U.S. to try and lower the total energy consumption that the country is responsible for, but recent thinking has favored a more specific target to try and cut usage levels.

The federal government, both the current administration and the U.S. Department of Energy, has begun to target commercial real estate as one sector that could be tapped for significant changes for the betterment of the country.

The DOE even designated a specific effort, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), to be an innovation center for the development of related technology and a testing facility for new advances in the sector.

The EEB Hub is going to use the building stock and commercial real estate market of the Greater Philadelphia region to serve as a national model for the sector. Companies and building owners will see that upgrades not only help to reduce operating costs, but will also create more jobs and improve worker productivity.

The Democratic National Convention is also serving as a staging ground for efforts to help advance the sector, as several events are being held to help increase talks about more efficient buildings in the U.S.

Ingersoll Rand is hosting an event throughout the convention, Building the Future of Energy Efficiency, which will involve politicians and energy industry leaders and will discuss the future of the commercial real estate market in the U.S., according to a release.

The company's chief executive officer Mike Lamach noted that both the private and public sector needed to work together to increase the number of efficient buildings in the country.

"Making our current and future building infrastructure more intelligent and efficient provides the most immediate and tangible return on investment for business and government," Lamach said in his remarks to the group. "Doing so allows businesses to manage the rising costs of energy. It gives them more capital to invest in growth, innovate and create new jobs."

The companies and political leaders that have taken part in the event have noted that the high amount of energy used by residential and commercial buildings – most estimates place this number at 41 percent of total energy consumption in the country – could be reduced with more efficient practices and materials in the sector.