Architecture 2030 has a pithy analysis showing the huge strides the US is making in energy efficiency. Just a few years ago, the department of energy forecasted a massive increase in energy use for the residential and commercial sectors. Now, we’re looking forward to a future with flat energy demand in the near-term and a range of possibilities for the future.
That’s progress on two major fronts.
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First and foremost, the new lower energy demand forecast is proof of what’s working in the building sector. We’re seeing better building codes, greater investment in energy efficiency, and more widespread adoption of green building practices. Three cheers, then, for everyone who’s been pushing forward on green building issues in all their breadth and complexity.
The new forecasts also represent progress in another important sense. The United States’ official forecasts for the building sector are now pointing toward a greener energy future that just a few years ago was derided as Pollyanna and naive. That matters.
It’s these official forecasts that show the “need” for new power plant construction, for more coal mining, for more natural gas fracking, and so on. And it’s these forecasts that have too often under girded pessimistic beliefs that climate policy can’t make a difference, and that the nation is locked into decades of fossil fuel dependence.
In fact, as the Architecture 2030 analysis shows, lower energy demand forecasts represent a huge economic boon to Americans:
It’s worth amplifying this message. When we talk about green building, in all of its various forms, we’re talking about trillions of dollars in energy savings for American residents and businesses.
That’s just under current forecast scenarios. For what it’s worth, my best guess is that the official projections are still too cautious and that advancement in policy (and technology) will yield not only better forecasts in the future, but a better actual future too.
H/t to Levin Nock