We keep hearing about devastating storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes, destroying homes and buildings across the country. We see that no building is safe. In 2019 alone, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that there were 14 weather and climate disaster events with monetary losses exceeding $1 billion dollars in the United States alone.
My grandparents used to live in an 1821 Connecticut farmhouse. The property was beautiful – original wood floors and beams, nine acres of yard, a horse shed, big garden, small creek, and towering maple and oak trees. We always considered spending the holiday season there, but never did; mold, mildew, and rot that had grown throughout the structure triggered allergic reactions and severely limited our ability to stay overnight.
In many states around the country, the increased stringency of building energy codes is the only way to ensure that building energy is reduced over time. However, international building energy codes are only updated periodically and sometimes take years to be adopted at the state level. This often results in building energy reduction falling behind state carbon reduction goals.
Every city climate action plan I have ever read references moving to zero energy buildings as well as more stringent or zero energy building energy codes. These are great plan elements and certainly are “doable” things to include in a plan. That said, zero energy buildings are not all that easy to accomplish across the broader market, and they certainly won’t happen without a substantial supportive effort.
The season of coming together with friends and family is fast approaching, and Thanksgiving will kick it off this week. With this, I think about the past year and what I am grateful for, as well as what I look forward to most in the New Year.
We are periodically asked how much different policies have saved and which policies have had the largest impact. In our recent report on energy efficiency progress over the past 35 years, we reviewed many current energy savings estimates and projections. Here I wanted to summarize which policies appear to be saving the most energy today, looking at estimated energy savings in calendar year 2014.