The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released the Energy Efficiency 2018 report, which highlights the environmental benefits of efficient technology for buildings and appliances. Described as an “annual global tracker of energy efficiency trends and indicators,” the report mentions the collective benefits of energy-efficient windows. As a result, “Sales of low emissivity or ‘low-E’ windows have been steadily increasing to reach over 20 percent of global sales, including more than 80 percent of the residential window market in the United States,” the report states. But there’s plenty of room for growth, researchers suggest, as low-E windows only account for around 2 percent of the global stock for installed windows.

The agency also released what it’s labeling the “Efficient World Scenario,” proposing what could happen if countries were to utilize potentials for energy efficiency between now and 2040.

Some countries have already taken the initiative to promote energy efficiency through tax deductions, including Italy, which promotes the use of efficient building renovations through a tax deduction of up to 85 percent.

“In Italy, fiscal incentives for building renovations can enable tax deductions of up to 85 percent for more comprehensive projects or 50 percent for a range of eligible technologies such as windows and heating systems,” states the report findings. “The reward for building owners has been two-fold: improvement in energy efficiency and reduction in personal or corporate income taxes. While the state receives less tax revenue related to sales of efficient building equipment, the policy will result in a net increase in tax revenue of around EUR 8.8 billion over its lifetime thanks to projected increases in value-added tax and income tax.”

Even with insulation installed to comply with building energy codes, the report suggests that most buildings are still not insulated well enough to keep buildings performing at sufficient energy efficient levels. Low-e windows are a way to combat this, the report suggests, as they’re cited for reducing heating and cooling demands.

In addition to heating and cooling benefits, the IEA finds that efficient windows could also benefit health. In the workshop, Beyond Energy Savings: The Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency, held by the IEA in early 2018, the organization proposed that recent findings suggest, “energy-efficient building materials that also reduce exposure to noise pollution, such as double- or triple-glazed windows, could have further benefits for health.” The report did not expand on what those benefits might be, but stated it would possibly be addressed later.

In a statement from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the organization supports the findings from the IEA.

“We endorse the IEA’s support for key efficiency policies …,” states the ACEEE release. “As governments consider ways to significantly cut their energy use while also growing their economies, they can turn to the ACEEE International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which provides policymakers with a roadmap of policy options and best practices in the buildings, transportation, and industrial sectors that will help optimize efficiency investments and maximize reductions in energy consumption.”

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