I’m going to bang the drum once again for energy efficiency retrofits. We’ve talked about them a lot—particularly their potential for huge energy efficiency gains and low implementation costs. At a time when new construction projects are on hold, and clean technology research is struggling for competitive funding, retrofits continue to be an appealing, low-hanging fruit.
According to new research from the Deutsche Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation, investments in energy efficiency retrofits have the potential to save up to $1 trillion in energy costs in the next decade. And that $1 trillion can be had at about ¼ the cost of investment—about $279 billion in improvements to residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout the US.
And the benefit of those retrofits goes beyond dollar-per-dollar energy savings. As Leslie Gueverra points out in her Energy Biz blog, “In addition to saving about 30% of the United States’ entire energy spend during the course of a year, completion of the energy efficiency retrofits could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 10% and create 3.3 million job years—which means the projects could created an estimated 3.3 million cumulative years of employment.”
For the last few years, reports, studies, and surveys in favor of building retrofits have been piling up. In 2010, it was a study by Pike Research that indicated the US could save up to $41 billion a year as a result of these efficiency upgrades. And the retrofit of the Empire State Building—highlighted in our very own pages—proved that even famous landmarks could find a new “lease-on-life” as energy-efficient tourist destinations.
But funding and financing is still a challenge. In a new report, also highlighted by Gueverra in her blog, four funding mechanisms are delineated: energy service agreements, PACE financing, on-bill energy efficiency tariffs and on-bill energy efficiency loans. Entitled “The United States Building Energy Efficiency Retrofits: Market Sizing and Financing”, the report not only outlines financing options, it “examines the potential size and investment opportunity of upgrading and replacing energy-consuming equipment in US real estate.”
Underlining the importance of the paper’s findings, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin notes, “Buildings consume approximately 40% of the world’s energy and are responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions. However, proven technologies to retrofit buildings can both conserve energy and—even more importantly in these difficult economic times—have the potential to create a large number of jobs. With the release of this new report, outlining both the investment and job opportunities, I am increasingly hopeful that this market can achieve its full potential.”
So what do you think? How can businesses overcome the financing hurdle? Should more be done at the state and federal level to encourage facility upgrades and retrofits? And should we continue to combine residential and commercial buildings, or would a more decentralized approach make sense?
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
March 8th, 2012
Reducing Energy, Water, and Tax Bills for Facilities
Are you overpaying on your facility’s three largest variable costs: energy, water, and taxes? Join Fraser Allport, CEO, to explore how to reduce your facility’s utility and tax bills and future-proof for sustained performance by combing green technologies (green hardware and smart software) with government tax incentives in a cost-reduction action plan designed to obtain, quantifiable and sustainable resource and cost-savings results. Read more…
March 15th, 2012
for Surface Water Quality
Constantly influenced by natural eutrophication, direct human impact, and a changing climate, surface water is a scarce natural resource needing effective protection. Join Shahram (Shane) Missaghi to explore the function and benefits of BMPs in protecting surface water, and examine three key criteria to insure their successful implementation: water, soil, and climate Read more...
March 22nd, 2012
5 Proven Social Media Tactics to Engage Your Audience
Extend your outreach and campaign effectiveness with social media. Join Erica Hooper, Strategic Director at S. Groner Associates, to explore social media's (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) opportunities, myths, and real-world tested and proven social media tactics designed to engage your audience. Read more…