At a macroeconomic level, energy efficiency in buildings is a business of trillions of dollars. Literally. The future of the energy sector, and the role of solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy, depends largely on building energy issues.
Home energy Improvements is much more than fancy equipment
Energy efficiency in buildings is not just about low-energy consumption appliances and electronics, or about energy efficient lighting systems.
It also involves...
- proper levels of sealing and insulation over the walls, attics and floors;
- high efficient windows, doors, roofs and foundations;
- design features involving the size of the windows in the different sides of the houses; the layout, size and shape of the house, overhangs, home orientation or protection from the sun and elements; landscaping...
- use of solar PV arrays (or other sources of green electricity).
An energy revolution
A wise combination of all these features – in new and existing houses and buildings – can reduce energy consumption to a fraction of the current levels.
American homes consume more than 42% of America’s energy, and more than 70% of its electricity and 30% of its gas, and it can be reduced to less than half through energy-efficiency. Goals like reducing energy consumption by 50% in existing homes and 80% in new homes are perfectly feasible, even with the existing technologies.
An energy-efficiency revolution would sharply reduce our energy bills, create multiple business opportunities and millions of jobs, and revitalize the economy as a whole (and not just the real-estate sector, or the several construction areas, including the insulation, sealing and construction materials and lighting sectors).
Finally, and not less important, it would free up electricity for the transportation sector (new electric cars will increase the demand of electricity) and natural gas for the industry, while also reducing the pressure on the electric utilities, enabling an easier transition from coal to solar and wind…
That’s why home energy improvements are so important, and a business of billions of dollars for all those able to promote and combine it with the emerging economic trends, involving the renewable sources of energy. It’s not just important for households, and to reduce our energy bills and carbon footprint. What’s at stake is much more than just this.
Obviously, it will not be easy to carry out such a scenario on a large scale. Upgrading the energy performance of millions of buildings every year, to combine the resulting energy savings with the emergence of solar and wind powered systems, is a very difficult task. But we can't keep doing things the same way.