U.S. Green Building Council supports Green Button Initiative

March 27, 2012

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced its support for the White House-inspired and industry-led Green Button initiative. This represents an important and practical effort to help electricity customers access, understand and best utilize their household and commercial energy usage information, according to a USGBC release.

The release noted that this move would help to create green, high-performance homes and commercial buildings across the country.

"USGBC shares the goals of the initiative, which are to promote consumer control over energy use and provide opportunities to cut waste and save money," said Chris Pyke, Ph.D., vice president of research at USGBC. "By providing easy access to data on building energy usage, the Green Button initiative can support consumer decision making, enable benchmarking and inform energy efficiency investments."

According to the release, the Green Button initiative would help to create wide-spread access to energy use information for commercial property managers and allow them to understand their electrical energy consumption. This could create the starting point for concrete steps to reduce wasted energy, save money, improve performance and ultimately create buildings that are better for people and the environment.    

InformationWeek reported that this helps people access a significant amount of information regarding their energy usage by simply clicking a green button on a website. This would allow building managers to get in-depth readouts of the data and provide their tenants with proposals for lower use.

According to the news source, the move was part of a larger open-data strategy that was announced by President Barack Obama and touted by the White House in a move toward a more transparent system for energy use in the country.

The initiative was modeled after the Blue Button effort that allows Americans to see their personal health data. Utilities signed on to the Green Button push as part of a consolidation of information and as a way to promote energy savings, InformationWeek reported.

The federal government has been pushing for the adoption of more energy efficient buildings across the U.S., and the Department of Energy designated an innovation HUB specifically to promote growth in the sector.

The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) is headquartered at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and is looking to establish the region as a national model for the use of retrofitting and building upgrades for commercial structures.