Energy Efficiency Today, Energy Efficiency Tomorrow

Solar carports feed energy into an adjacent building.


 

Energy Efficiency, also sometimes called the “fifth fuel,” is the cheapest and cleanest energy choice.  Growth and improvements in this industry started in the 1970s and in the last few years, a lot of money has been invested in doing even better.

After 11 of the International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries (America, Australia, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Sweden) saved 1.4 billion tonnes of oil in 2011, worth $743 billion, it was estimated that $310 billion-360 billion was put into energy efficiency measures worldwide in 2012.

In previous years, energy-efficiency was not a priority for many.  It takes time and money that architects, builders, landlords and tenants would rather spend on other things. The largest chunk of energy consumption (31%) is in the heating and cooling of buildings. Most of that is wasted because past architects have paid little or no attention to details in thrifty energy designs. These designs could have include wind, solar, and geothermal energy to meet power needs.

In recent years, energy efficiency has become an important factor in both new and existing buildings. This will become increasingly important as the mandatory standards for landlords and those selling property expand to include energy efficiency regulations.

Energy-service companies, also knows as ESCOs, guarantee lower bills. ESCOs are already a $6.5 billion-a-year industry in America and a $12 billion one in China. Both are dwarfed by Europe, with €41 billion ($56 billion) last year. Navigant Research, the consultancy, expects this to double by 2023.

A rooftop solar lease can finance an investment of $20,000 with monthly payments that are lower than the customer’s current utility bill.  Although the price of fossil fuels will always fluctuate, solar is bound to get cheaper.

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