Energy Efficient Buildings Would Reduce Global Warming Pollution, Save Virginia Families $503.88 Annually
WASHINGTON, DC -- Virginia families could save $503.88 every year on their electricity bills by 2030 if the government invests in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, according to a new report by Environment Virginia. Saving energy in our buildings would also help fight against global warming, reducing global warming pollution from buildings by 31 percent—the equivalent of taking over 9.2 million cars off the road.
Joining Environment Virginia to release this new report in a tele-press conference is Kathy Lawson, LEED AP BC+C with Davis Carter Scott, Ltd., Rebekah Burke, PE, LEED AP BD+C and immediate past chair of the Hampton Roads Green Building Council and Chuck Worley, owner of Energy Efficient Solution.
“It’s time to build better,” said Environment Virginia’s Federal Field Organizer Sarah Bucci. “Bold efficiency measures for buildings can cut energy use in our homes and businesses 26 percent by 2030, reducing pollution and saving consumers money.”
Right now, 40 percent of the energy used in America goes to heat, cool, and power our buildings. And because much of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power, this accounts for nearly half of global warming pollution in the country. Furthermore, much of this energy is wasted, flying out of leaky doors and windows. This high level of energy consumption pumps billions of tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere and costs Americans nearly $400 billion every year.
Our report, Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency, analyzes the benefits Virginia would see if we committed to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings. The report uses government data to estimate reduced energy consumption, decreased fossil fuel use, money saved on energy bills, and global warming pollution prevented in 2020 and 2030.
Making our buildings more efficient would:
Reduce the projected energy use of Virginia’s buildings 26 percent by 2030
Prevent the emission of 52.2 million tons of global warming pollution every year by 2030, the equivalent of taking over 9.2 million cars off the road.
Save the average Virginia family of four $503 a year on their electricity bills by 2030.
“That’s the best part about making energy efficiency improvements,” said Chuck Worley, owner of the Norfolk company Energy Efficient Solution. “They pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year.”
“Green buildings, when designed by an experienced and innovative team, do not cost more than conventional buildings. In fact, the upfront cost can remain the same and the owner saves money over time,” says Kathy Lawson of the McLean firm Davis Carter Scott. “‘Green building’ is a subjective term that can mean very different things to different people. For me, a truly green building is a high-performing, thoughtfully designed building that is very energy and water efficient, reduces its footprint on the planet, and provides a safer, healthier environment for the builders and future occupants.”
Environment Virginia is calling for policies that will help us reach our efficiency goals, including:
Steady improvements to building codes over time so that all new buildings are increasingly efficient, culminating in a zero net energy standard by 2030, when new buildings should be so efficient that they can produce all the energy they need on site using renewable energy like wind and solar.
Investing in energy retrofits and weatherization to improve the efficiency of existing buildings 30 percent by 2030.
Supporting innovative financing mechanisms that will unleash public and private investment in building efficiency.
“Not only can LEED, green & high performing buildings save your bottom dollar, but they can also benefit the health of the occupants within. Providing a building free of toxins with ample access to daylight and fresh air is every bit as important as the energy it uses. In addition to their energy efficiency benefits, LEED or high performing buildings can reduce sick days, increase productivity and reduce asthma incidents in children in our schools,” said Rebekah Burke of the Hampton Roads green Building Council. “Not only that, but the sight of solar panels or wind turbines can change the way we view our world and cause a person to wonder, ‘where does my power actually come from?’” added Burke. In addition to her role with the Hampton Roads Green Building Council, Burke is the Director of Sustainable Design at Clark Nexsen, Architecture & Engineering.
As documented in this report, successful efficiency programs and incentives at the federal, state, and local level are already paying off, saving consumers money and dramatically reducing energy use. For example, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Headquarter Building in Reston and the EPA Buildings at Potomac Yard are all energy efficient buildings here in Virginia.
“There are already thousands of super-efficient buildings all around the state,” concluded Bucci. “Most buildings last for decades, so investing in energy efficiency locks in savings for years to come and builds a strong foundation for the future of our environment and our economy.”
Environment Virginia is a state-wide, member based environmental advocacy group working for clean air, clean water, and open space.
For more information, please visit www.environmentvirginia.org