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USGNN Original StoryChange is the Word for EE Global

By the second day of the Energy Efficiency Global Forum & Exposition (EE Global) in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy, change was the word on the lips of most speakers. Changing building designs, changing legislation and changing the world were the goals of the array of speakers.

More than 800 delegates, exhibitors and media from 32 countries attended the inaugural event focused on energy efficiency. Attendees represented governments from several countries, businesses, nonprofits and trade associations.

During a session on "New Approaches to Environmentally Conscious Building Envelope Design and Technologies," David Rodgers, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency with the United States Department of Energy (DOE), addressed the energy bills in Congress (CLICK HERE to read about Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007). He explained that net-zero energy buildings-the goal for commercial buildings by 2050, as outlined by House Bill 3221-use 70 percent less energy than conventional buildings, which then allow the buildings to produce enough electricity on-site or through storage to power the building through the rest of the day. According to Rodgers, integrating systems and looking at buildings as wholes is critical in reaching this net-zero energy goal. However, he did point out that changes to windows are among provisions being examined by architects.

"Windows annually are responsible for 3.8 quads of energy in the U.S. in the form of heating and air conditioning loads at a cost of more than $30 million," Rodgers said (according to information from DOE, that amounts to 4 percent of U.S. energy).

He told his audience that electrochromic windows and "highly insulating" units will play a role in making more energy-efficient buildings.

Becoming more energy-efficient will be the key to reducing carbon emissions around the world, according to Senator Timothy Wirth from Colorado, president of the United Nations Foundation. "Energy efficiency has to be the path," Wirth said during the plenary luncheon on this topic. "There is no other."

Like earlier speakers (CLICK HERE to read "EE Global Forum Looks Beyond Current Codes"),Wirth noted that finding solutions for becoming a more energy-efficient country is challenging, but instigating change is far more difficult. "How do you get these large government [bodies] designed for a previous world to change?" he asked. The next EE Global Forum will be held December 2008 in Brussels, Belgium.

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