Report: Which New Building Technologies Save Energy, Money?

Report: Which New Building Technologies Save Energy, Money?

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has published a new report, "Emerging Energy-Saving Technologies and Practices in the Buildings Sector as of 2004." This analysis reviewed 200 technologies and practices (T&Ps) in order to select those that promise to save at least 0.25% of national electricity use; avoid "lost opportunities" in new construction, rehab, or equipment replacement; or capture important regional opportunities. The report features short summaries of 66 T&Ps complement text that describes their collective impact. Appendices offer a California-specific analysis and California climate sensitivity studies for national measures.

Of the 66 measures described in the report, the most attractive candidates include two distribution system improvements (leakproof ducts and duct sealing) and two practices (design of high-performance commercial buildings and retrocommissioning). These show particularly high energy savings potential and are also very cost-effective.

"Not surprisingly, many technologies from earlier editions of this report have spread through the marketplace," stated Dr. Harvey Sachs, lead author of the study and ACEEE's buildings program director. "Fortunately, innovators continue to introduce new T&Ps that enable the careful building owner to measure and manage energy consumption, and to ratchet down energy bills in the face of rising fuel prices."

Steven Nadel, ACEEE's executive director, observed: "The most promising of these technologies and practices can save this nation hundreds of billions of kilowatt-hours, and all at a cost per saved kilowatt-hour that is far lower than the cost of generating that power. The buildings sector is one of the largest in our energy economy, so for our nation, the potential monetary savings are huge, even before taking into account the productivity, energy security, and environmental benefits that will accrue."

The report can be downloaded for free in part or in whole or can be ordered in hard copy for $75. The presentations from the first Emerging Technologies Summit, which explored the potential and pitfalls for the fledgling technologies and practices, are available online.