imgBuildingsEEIcon Buildings and Industry - Energy Efficiency

Increase or decrease the energy efficiency of buildings, appliances, and other machines. Energy efficiency includes things like building well-insulated homes and reducing the amount of energy factories use. Energy efficient practices can save money through reduced energy needs as well as improve the health of people in those buildings.

Examples

  • Individuals and businesses changing their behavior to insulate buildings, purchase energy efficient technologies (motors, lighting, appliances, servers, HVAC systems), and conserve energy.
  • Government policies such as tax breaks and performance standards to incentivize energy efficient products and practices.
  • Research and development into high efficiency technologies.

Slider Settings

The variable being changed is the annual improvement rate in the energy intensity of new capital.

discouraged status quo increased highly increased
Annual rate -1% to 0% 0% to +2% +2% to +5% +5% to +7%

Key Dynamics

  • As less energy is used for buildings and industry notice how all the energy sources come down in the “Sources of Primary Energy” graph. Less coal, oil, and gas are burned so CO2 emissions go down and global temperature change is lowered dramatically.
  • Improvements in energy intensity of new capital also reduce energy demand. Explore this in the “Final Energy Consumption” graph, where the current scenario (blue line) is lower than business as usual (black line).

Big Message

  • Energy efficiency of buildings and factories is high leverage. It leads to less coal, oil, and gas being used. It also saves families, business, and communities money.

Model Structure

Increasing the rate of improvement in energy use for new technology and infrastructure lowers emissions gradually, because energy use is driven by the overall average of all infrastructure in this area, which is delayed from this intervention due to its relatively long lifetime.

Potential Co-Benefits of Encouraging

  • Increased industrial efficiency and reduced energy demand can improve air quality, which increases healthcare savings and worker productivity.
  • Lowering electricity bills for households, businesses, and governments increases energy security.
  • Insulated homes remain cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, when weather events and grid-overload cause outages.
  • Retrofitting buildings and homes to be more efficient can create many jobs.

Equity Considerations

  • The up-front capital costs of efficiency improvements may not accessible to lower income individuals and small businesses.
  • Cross-sectoral collaboration can ensure jobs and benefits are distributed equitably within the local community.
  • In some places, policies are directed at property owners, inhibiting renters, who are often lower income, from accessing the benefits.