On the coattails of last week’s U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office 2015 Program Peer Review in D.C., I can’t help but be excited about the aggressive yet hopeful future the DOE is working toward for the building and construction market.

The department has expedited goals for significant building energy savings, which is all possible through its strategic industry partnerships with national labs, such as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and is supported by commercial and residential building integration programs, such as Zero Energy Ready Homes and Building America. These partnerships are working to develop new, energy-efficient technologies, and once they become mainstream and commercially viable, the DOE will then work to assist in code development to ensure the broadest possible adoption.

Some of the key goals the DOE has outlined include:

  • To achieve 50 percent reductions (an aggressive goal) in heating and cooling energy for buildings, both new and retrofit.
  • To decrease heating and cooling energy in residential retrofits by 40 percent by 2030. This may, in fact, be the most important goal to our industry, and the one we have the opportunity in which to make the most impact. The cost of energy used in buildings is estimated at $410 billion annually, and this targeted savings goal for heating and cooling would be about $60 billion.

Over the past year, the DOE has issued 10 new appliance performance rules, as well. These regulations dictate minimum performance requirements with potential savings from appliances of more than 2 trillion BTUs of energy.

The View from Here is that now more than ever, high-performing, energy-efficient doors and windows are a critical part of the energy savings projects portfolio, among a number of exciting projects that have potential to deliver lower-cost, energy-saving technologies in the near future. It is our responsibility in the fenestration industry to continue to push ourselves to innovate and keep these goals top of mind as we plan and develop new products and solutions for our customers in the next few years.

Follow my blog in the coming months for more detailed information about specific emerging technology projects I think have potential impact for our industry.

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