The United States is seeing a promising upward trend in ultra-low energy (ULE) buildings. While much of this progress has occurred with new construction, it is beginning to spread to existing buildings. Over the past decade, a small but growing number of ULE building retrofit projects have been documented in more than 20 states.
A zero net energy (ZNE) building is a home or commercial building that on average produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through energy efficiency and renewable technologies. The ZNE concept has captured the imagination of the building design and clean energy communities. Now, policymakers, businesses, and a broader segment of the general public are showing an increased interest in ZNE as a means to reduce building operating costs and environmental impact while addressing energy supply challenges.
Commercial buildings consume 20% of the total energy used in the United States---more than the energy consumed by all the nation’s cars, trains, and airplanes put together. A significant portion of this energy can be saved through efficiency in design, systems, and operation. Utilities and other efficiency program administrators have long been incentivizing energy efficiency measures that target various energy end uses such as lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
The need for innovative ways to reduce residential energy use is growing. States are setting increasingly aggressive energy savings targets for utilities and program administrators, as well as longer-term energy reduction goals that call for even greater savings. In California, for example, their goal calls for a 40% reduction in existing homes’ energy use by 2020.
New Report Shows How Energy-Efficient Manufactured Homes Can Save Consumers Billions
Emerging Technologies Increase Consumer Choice and Improve Performance
Washington, D.C.—New energy-efficient water heating technologies and practices can save residential and commercial buildings on average 37% more energy than conventional technologies. These energy savings could be worth nearly $18 billion, according to a new study of emerging technologies released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
How does where we build our homes, businesses, and transportation infrastructure impact our energy use? A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report attempts to tackle just that question. The report analyzes the energy use associated with different housing and neighborhood types. It also serves as a concise and readable primer on research related to the energy implications of “location efficiency.”