Alliance Reports Tackle Energy Efficiency Policy, Building Energy Codes, and Net-Zero Energy Buildings

At one of the world’s preeminent symposiums on building energy use, the Alliance to Save Energy presented three reports that are set to impact the way energy efficiency enthusiasts look at buildings. The three reports – low-cost policies to make buildings more efficient nationwide, best practices for state compliance with updated building codes, and tactics to spread net-zero energy buildings across communities – were presented at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Pacific Grove, Calif., on Aug. 12-17, 2012.

Policy: Breaking Down Barriers to Energy Efficiency in the Marketplace

Guiding the Invisible Hand: Policies to Address Market Barriers to Energy Efficiency

By Lowell Ungar, Rodney Sobin, Neal Humphrey, Tom Simchak, Nancy Gonzalez, and Francesca Wahl (Alliance to Save Energy)

This report, written by the Alliance’s policy and research team, explores a range of government policies that can overcome well-known market barriers to energy efficiency without new spending or mandates on individuals.

Barriers that hinder the adoption of much-needed energy efficiency measures include lack of information and split incentives. However, policies such as building labeling, green leases, and the “SAVE Act” could attract bipartisan support and greatly improve energy efficiency in buildings.

Building Energy Codes: Compliance Planning

White Paper: Compliance Planning Assistance Program

By Cosimina Panetti, Maria Ellingson, John Miller, Kelly Guhanick and Mark Lessans (Alliance to Save Energy)

A report from the Alliance’s Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) provides findings from the project’s efforts to help 15 states develop plans to comply with updated building energy codes. These findings include:

  • An assessment of challenges among states that create or hinder a successful infrastructure for building energy code compliance;
  • Essential elements for any state’s energy code strategic compliance planning;
  • Lessons-learned in regards to political and other barriers;
  • The role of a State Energy Code Compliance Collaborative in a successful compliance strategy;
  • Resources and policies needed to facilitate 90% compliance with the building energy code;

Net-Zero Energy Buildings: Spreading Across Communities

Think Bigger: Net-Zero Communities

By Abi Kallushi, Jeffrey Harris, and John Miller (Alliance to Save Energy); Matt Johnston (Urban Land Institute); and Ab Ream (U.S. Department of Energy)

Launched by the Alliance, the National Association of State Energy Officials and other organizations in late 2009, the Zero Energy Commercial Buildings Consortium includes more than 500 organizations seeking to transition the market to zero-energy commercial buildings. The CBC’s latest report discusses the need to spread net-zero energy buildings across communities.

The report includes two case studies that showcase new ways to operate buildings, emerging technologies, and best practices in integrating shared resources across a community to put buildings’ net energy use at zero. The report also looks at how actions can be coordinated over time to prime communities to seize future opportunities to make their buildings net-zero energy. Finally, the report provides a set of policy recommendations to support achieving net-zero energy across community-wide building stock.

About the 2012 ACEEE Summer Study

Presentations and discussions at ACEEE’s biennial Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings allowed leading thinkers in the field to share ideas on the technological basis for, and practical implementation of, actions to reduce energy use and the climate impacts associated with buildings.

Building energy efficiency has received increased worldwide attention in recent years, but investment in and implementation of energy use reduction strategies must be greatly accelerated in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, energy insecurity, and resource depletion, according to ACEEE. The Summer Study focused on how government and utility programs, codes and standards, technologies, design processes, operation practices, and financing sources can be cost-effectively implemented, while addressing behavioral factors.