Green Buildings: A Global Look at Tracking Energy Efficiency

Green Buildings: A Global Look at Tracking Energy Efficiency

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


Exercising its unique position as a neutral third party, the Academy formed a collective – including architects, engineers, scientists, policy makers from city and state, foundation and non-profit leaders – representing the key players in New York in the area of green buildings and sustainable design. This newly formed group addresses a unique niche for which the Academy can leverage its scientific strength to deliver significant value to the green buildings discourse. This year's focus will be on addressing energy and measurement issues with respect to sustainable design including a survey of best practices nationally and internationally.




6:00 pm: Jens Laustsen, IEA
6:30 pm: Adam Hinge, Sustainable Energy Partnerships
7:00 pm: Panel discussion: Moderator: Noel Morrin, Skanska

Reception to follow.


Global Strategies for Energy Efficient Buildings – IEA Recommendations for Energy Efficiency Policies for Buildings
Jens Laustsen
Energy Efficiency Policy Analyst, International Energy Agency (IEA)

Energy consumption in buildings is the largest of any end use sector. Energy consumption in buildings OECD is therefore larger than the consumption for processes in industry or for transportation. Energy consumption in buildings is growing in developing countries, and buildings account for an increasing share total energy use in these countries. Energy use in buildings accounts for close to 40 per cent of end energy use in the World.

Large and feasible potentials for energy efficiency improvements are available in both new and existing buildings. New buildings can be built with no energy consumption or very little energy consumption. In existing buildings the energy consumption can be reduced substantially.

Many barriers work against energy efficiency in buildings, such as split incentives (owners of buildings pay/renters save), financial constraints, lack of knowledge/awareness by owners and advisers or lack of capacity in the construction industry. Overcoming these barriers requires pro-active energy efficiency policies and supportive energy technology R&D policies.

As a part of the IEA work for the Gleneagles Plan of Action IEA is conducting a study on energy efficiency in buildings. The aim is to come up with recommendations for policies to improve the efficiency globally in as well new as existing buildings.

Energy Efficiency in New Buildings

Today buildings can be built that will need very little or even no net energy consumption (Zero Energy Buildings). Yet the vast majority of new buildings are nowhere near as efficient, and imply energy uses that are far from the least-cost optimum for owners and users, not to mention society as a whole.

New buildings are in most countries built with energy efficiency which are far from the least cost optimum over a 30 years life span or renovation circle for these buildings. In many countries the requirements in buildings codes could be increased substantially to ensure that some of these feasible savings were obtained in the majority of new buildings. In the study requirements are compared between regions and with a least cost optimum.

There is a need for active policies to drive the development of ultra low energy buildings further and to make these kinds of buildings general available on the market.

Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

The largest energy saving potentials in OECD member countries is within existing buildings.

Savings in existing buildings are especially feasible when the buildings are improved for other reasons such as under renovation or refurbishment. These situations occur typically every 30 – 40 years in residential buildings and more often in commercial or public buildings.

Studies have shown t