New Study Shows Energy-Efficient Construction is Key to Green Building Growth
July 29, 2009
According to a recently released study from McKinsey & Company,
a management consulting firm that works to help organizations address
their strategic challenges, investing in the energy efficiency of
buildings, such as high-performance glass and window materials,
represents a powerful and strategic energy and climate solution
that combined with other non-transportation initiatives could reduce
the nation's energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020, save the
U.S. economy $1.2 trillion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by
1.1 gigatons annually. Titled, "Unlocking Energy Efficiency
in Today's Economy," the study examines different means by
which the United States could realize greater energy efficiency
in several areasincluding commercial construction.
According to the study, "the commercial sector will consume
20 percent of the 2020 baseline end-use energy [and] consumption
is forecast to grow by 1.5 percent per year from a baseline of 6.7
quadrillion BTUs of end-use energy in 2008
" In researching
the commercial sector, the study looks at ten building types: Office;
retail; education; lodging; healthcare; assembly; food service;
warehouse; food sales; and other. These were then organized into
five clusters based on shared barriers and attributes [to energy
efficiencies]: Existing private buildings; government buildings;
new private buildings; office and non-commercial devices; and community
Looking at existing private buildings specifically, the study says
these structures will likely account for 2,866 trillion end-use
BTUs of energy consumption by 2020. Of the barriers to greater energy
efficiency in this segment, the study lists one as being "lack
of awareness or information."
"Many facility managers are unaware of the energy efficiency
potential with the belief that the building is already energy-efficient.
Furthermore, they often possess limited knowledge of energy-efficiency
measures and ways to deploy them within their facilities, including
the critical role that proper design and installation play in capturing
savings," the study says.
Creating value with voluntary standards is one solution the study
offers for overcoming such barriers.
"Buildings meeting an efficiency standard show a 6-percnet
premium in effective rent and a 16-percnent premium in valuation
over similar non-energy efficient buildings. The benefits provided
by adherence to a voluntary standard, applied to both buildings
and commercial equipment, could help manage agency issues by offering
financial returns for investments through increased rent and raising
awareness of the benefits of efficient buildings."
In the privately owned new buildings segment, the study cites ineffective
installation and lack of commissioning as barriers.
"Developers have little incentive to ensure that contractors
install equipment optimally or commission buildings properly,"
the study reads. "As a result, some buildings perform below
the levels called for in building codes: research has found that
as many as 20 - 30 percent of buildings designed to meet the ASHRAE
1999 standard did not meet the building shell and lighting requirements."
The study suggests mandatory building codes as a solution strategy.
"Only two states have adopted the latest commercial building
code, while 13 states have either not adopted a statewide code or
continue to use codes that are more than three years old. The 2007
ASHRAE standard represents a 32-percent efficiency improvement over
the 1980 level. States adopting the most recent ASHRAE standard,
90.1-2007, would reduce energy consumption in new buildings by 11
percent relative to the current code levels."
"Increasing our nation's energy efficiency is an economic,
environmental and national security imperative that requires bold
public policy," says Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive
officer and founding chairman of U.S. Green Building Council, a
sponsor of the study. "As Congress debates climate change legislation,
these findings make an overwhelming case that we must dramatically
strengthen provisions that support and scale green building."
HERE to read the entire study.
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