Does Energy Efficient Technology Make Buildings More Energy Efficient? The Answer May Not Be So Obvious

ClimateWire had a fascinating story on Monday about federal efforts to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, which are estimated to consume about 40% of our nation’s energy. The story concerns the less than inspiringly-named Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings, which is seeking to substantially alter how building owners think about energy efficiency and the use of technology.

The problem facing GPIC, as it is known, is one with which I confess I was not familiar. According to the statistics from the Energy Information Administration:

“Over the past 20 to 30 years, every important building component has improved in energy performance. From air conditioners to lighting to windows, construction crews today have an array of green technologies at their disposal. 

Once they're put together, though, the finished building performs no better than its predecessors of two or three decades ago. The parts have gotten better, but not the whole.”

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