Doing more with less--that's what energy efficiency is all about and it is a vital tool in our fight against global warming. Think of it this way: demand for energy is on the rise and the cheapest way to stave off the need for new power plant construction, dirty or clean, is to ratchet down consumption and the best place to start is within the built environment. Buildings account for a greater amount of greenhouse gas emissions than transportation, manufacturing or any other sector. In fact, nationally our buildings suck up 70% of all electricity produced. This means we must build new homes and office buildings that use less energy but possibly more important is the need to figure ways to address existing buildings.
One of the biggest barriers in getting at buildings is a lack of consumer knowledge. This information gap keeps many people from acting even if they have the means to do so. First and foremost people need to get an energy audit done on their home or office building. A comprehensive energy audit will produce an itemized document that explains exactly where the structure is losing energy and the cost of making needed upgrades so an informed decision can be made about what the most cost effective strategy is.
In later posts we'll talk about potential financing sources to pay for building retrofits but keep in mind doing more with less is a good thing. Using less energy means putting money back in your pocket while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, something that's vital for our future.