The recently released ACEEE report, Overcoming Market Barriers and Using Market Forces to Advance Energy Efficiency, highlights 16 cost-effective policies which have the potential for very large impacts on the consumption of energy in the U.S.
Benchmarking, building energy use public disclosure, and building energy rating policies are one of the major policies noted. The report suggests these have an approximate potential of 1.6 quads of energy and $60 billion that could be saved between 2014 and 2030 with the development of a comprehensive, national building labeling and benchmarking program or collection of policies. Addressed at either a local, regional, or national scale, this type of program leverages market mechanisms without requiring substantial spending or government mandates.
Building benchmarking and labeling policies also have other benefits. Annual benchmarking requirements create a tangible record of energy performance over time, and allow building owners to verify the impact of building operational changes or efficiency improvements once implemented. These types of programs also provide policymakers and building designers with a mechanism to track energy use trends. Benchmarking and energy ratings can be applied to any building – either commercial buildings, residential, and/or mixed-use using a variety of currently available tools.
MEEA has assisted state and local governments to review, pilot, and implement such policies, including the City of Minneapolis (http://www.minneapolismn.gov/environment/WCMS1P-105433) and the State of Illinois. Our goal is to assist the Midwest Region in becoming a leader in these types of policies, as well as assisting building owners to implement effective strategies to reduce energy use in buildings.
The report can be found at: http://aceee.org/research-report/e136.