New Federal Data Shows Sweeping Savings in Energy Usage by U.S. Building Sector

July 2nd, 2013 by DWM Magazine

A new analysis of federal energy data shows that the U.S. building sector’s vigorous efforts toward efficiency standards and subsequent dwindling energy consumption have essentially eliminated the need for any additional power plants to service the building sector.

Architecture 2030, a non-profit group devoted to achieving dramatic reductions in climate-change causing greenhouse gas emissions of the building sector, released its analysis of the 2013 U.S. Energy Information Association’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook. In its findings, the group concluded that the building sector needs no new further power sources despite future plans to add more than 60 billion square feet to its stock by 2030 – a 23.6 percent increase.

The announcement has been seen as welcome news for the glass industry, but Earnest Thompson, the director of corporate marketing and brand management at Guardian, stressed the need for continued industry diligence.

“There is a lot of conversation about energy efficiency in buildings and that’s why we at Guardian are committed to taking meaningful steps toward providing industry answers,” he said. “We are developing next generation glass solutions that will play an important role in achieving these types of significant energy savings for the building sector. More broadly, the whole industry needs to continue educating architects, policy makers, academics and others about recent technological advances in the glass world and the possibilities in the pipeline. That way, we ensure that glass is recognized as part of the solution, both for energy efficiency and improved workplace performance, in the buildings of the future.”

A moratorium on power plant construction today would hold no negative implications for the sector, traditionally one of the most energy-hungry sectors of the nation. The favorable news comes at an opportune time as both houses of Congress mull over various potential landmark legislative options designed to enhance energy efficiency while also reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook is the latest in a string of annual reports that have projected increasingly low energy consumption projections for the building sector through 2030. Overall building sector projections for energy consumption for the year 2030 have consistently declined since 2005.

“The numbers are showing that the building sector’s energy demand is not going to increase, and we are beginning to see news come out now like Duke Energy shelving plans for new power plants because there is no projected demand,” says Architecture 2030 founder and CEO Edward Mazria in a statement. “This is happening despite the fact that we still build two to three billion new square feet a year. We are not only making new buildings more efficient, we are also renovating our building stock and consequently reducing energy demand every year.”

Nearly half (48.7 percent) of all energy annually produced in the U.S. is consumed by the building sector – about the same amount of energy consumed by both transportation (28.1 percent) and industry (23.2 percent) combined, according to Architecture 2030.

John Hollis is a contributing editor for DWM magazine.

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