Hot off the press, NEEP has just released a report entitled “The Smart Energy Home: Driving Residential Building Decarbonization”. This report builds on NEEP’s multi-year effort in the smart energy homes space, and brings the role of controls more clearly into focus, outlining their importance for decarbonizing residential properties.
We find ourselves hanging in a careful balance between continuing our work on various plans and policies that started before COVID-19 and managing a new direct response to the pandemic. This policy tracker is the first of a two-part analysis of policies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. This first installment focuses on non-COVID-19 policies. Keep an eye out for the second blog analyzing COVID-19 response efforts.
As 2019 comes to a close and we look towards the start of a new decade, there is a lot on which to reflect. I think about the calendar year turning to 2020 and know that leaves us with just 10 years to drastically reduce our emissions to prevent catastrophic climate impacts. Ten years doesn’t seem like a long time, yet so much can happen in that time. During the last 10 years, I graduated high school, got my master's degree, and landed my dream job. For climate, it can mean reducing emissions by at least 45 percent.
In 2018, NEEP developed an Action Plan to Accelerate Strategic Electrification in the Northeast. The plan came out of an extensive process that included an ongoing steering committee, the production of a regional resource assessment, and a two day conference with over 100 people.
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 commercial buildings market is very complex, with wildly divergent ownership, management control, and building characteristics. Buildings range from strip malls to office towers to convention centers to big box retail stores. Ownership could be local government, merchant builders (who build and then sell), local family businesses, international corporations, and fast food franchises. Each ownership category makes decisions very differently from the others. Some commercial buildings are incredibly complex, some buildings are cookie cutter simple and repetitive.
We have figured out the puzzle pieces that need to come together to decarbonize our economy and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Renewable energy + deep energy efficiency + strategic electrification = the pathways to zero carbon.
Thank you for taking the time to read the very first issue of Building Decarb Central.
You may be wondering where the idea for this newsletter came from, or why we’ve decided to tackle the issue of building decarbonization, so let us shed some light.