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Investing in the energy efficiency of buildings, such as high-performance glass and window materials, could reduce the nation’s energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020, save the U

S economy $12 trillion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11 gigatons annually, according to a recently released study from McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm that works to help organizations address their strategic challenges The study, titled “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in Today’s Economy,” examines different means by which the United States could realize greater energy efficiency in several areas-including residential construction These include:

Public awareness, home labeling and voluntary standards

Fewer than two percent of existing US homes have ratings, because most homes are evaluated and rates only at the time of construction Therefore, according to the report, share is expected to increase through the new homes market where, for example, ENERGY STAR® captured 17 percent of new construction in 2008 and is expected to grow to 25 percent in 2009

Rebates and incentives

The report cited the recent passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the $1,500 for energy-efficient home improvements such as windows But the report goes further saying, “If incentive and rebate programs were to be expanded dramatically to reach all homes on a national level The outlay would total approximately $105 billion

Weatherization programs

As with the tax credit, the report says that the weatherization program can go farther “Traditionally, WAP has prioritized the lowest income homes with energy savings potential: 66 percent of homes weatherized have annual household incomes below $8,000 with 90 percent having less than $15,000, but the program could be extended to focus on energy savings more broadly and address higher income homes

Mandatory building codes

The study suggest solution strategies to capture potential through codes involving three actions: spreading high efficiency codes to all states, raising efficiency levels in existing codes and improving code compliance

“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”

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1 Comment

  1. (Rebates and Incentives) I do believe some type of tax rebate should continue for renovations not only to kick start a slugish economy but better yet to help stamp out the underground cash renovation business. In Ontario we have a $1350 federal tax credit on a $10,000 renovation. I find it hard not to believe the Government didn’t realize that they were doing just that with the $1500 incentive ? The tax revenue dollars alone would more than pay for even a larger incentive and creat more work for licensed registered business.

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