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.
Individuals and businesses insulating buildings, purchasing energy efficient technologies (motors, lighting, appliances, servers, HVAC systems), and conserving energy.
Government policies such as tax breaks and performance standards to incentivize energy efficient products and practices.
Research and development into high efficiency technologies.
Energy efficiency of buildings and industry is high leverage. It leads to less overall energy use, which leads to less coal, oil, and gas being used. It also saves families, business, and communities money.
As less energy is used for buildings and industry, notice how all the energy sources decline in the “Global Sources of Primary Energy” graph - particularly coal and gas when they are the main sources of electricity. Less fossil fuels 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 the Baseline (black line).
Potential Co-Benefits of Encouraging Energy Efficiency¶
Increased industrial efficiency and reduced energy demand can reduce air pollution, 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.
The up-front capital costs of efficiency improvements may not be accessible to lower income individuals and small businesses.
In some places, policies are directed at property owners, inhibiting renters, who are often lower income, from accessing the benefits.
The variable being changed is the annual improvement rate in the energy intensity of new capital for buildings and industry.
-1% to 0%
0% to +1.5%
+1.5% to +3%
+3% to +5%
Increasing the rate of improvement in energy use for buildings and industry lowers emissions gradually, because energy use is driven by the overall average of all infrastructure in this area, which is delayed from this intervention because improvement only come to new things and many buildings and industrial facilities last decades.
Global: Through LEED-certified energy efficient buildings, a group of six major economies saved $13.3 billion in energy, health, and climate benefits and avoided emitting dozens of air pollutants. 1
United Kingdom: If the UK were to reduce its household energy expenditures by one-quarter using energy efficiency measures, households could save £270 per year. The net present value of this investment is £7.5 billion, and the wider health, economic, and energy benefits could reach £47 billion. 2
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P., M., X., C., J., B., J., C.-L., J., S., A., B., & J., A. (2018). Energy savings, emission reductions, and health co-benefits of the green building movement. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 28(4), 307–318. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-017-0014-9
Rosenow, J., Eyre, N., Sorrell, S., & Guertler, P. (2017). Unlocking Britain’s First Fuel: The potential for energy savings in UK housing. Retrieved from https://www.e3g.org/docs/17_9_6_UKERC_CIED_briefing_final.pdf