More Green Building and Energy Efficiency Could Save U.S. Economy $1.2 Trillion

More Green Building and Energy Efficiency Could Save U.S. Economy $1.2 Trillion

The typical building in the U.S. leaks energy like a sieve and its occupants usually make the situation worse.

But businesses and individuals could stanch the flow by making simple changes that could yield a 23 percent drop in energy use by 2020, save the U.S. economy $1.2 trillion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 gigatons annually, according to a new study.

McKinsey & Company
released its 165-page report, "Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy," today. The U.S. Green Building Council and 11 other governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations helped sponsor  the report.

You can read Senior Writer Marc Gunther's take on the report here. A copy of the study can be downloaded here.

The report examines how the nation can increase energy efficiency in buildings and other non-transportation sectors using existing technology and methods -- some of them are as basic as using the efficiency settings on equipment and appliances.

The study also takes a hard look at the barriers to progress, why the changes haven't already been made and what can be done to clear the hurdles.

The report says a targeted investment of $50 billion a year for a 10-year period could produce the big savings and reductions described. In addition, say McKinsey and the USGBC, almost 900,000 jobs would be created.

"This confirms a critical path forward that we have long championed. Harnessing the engine of green, energy efficient buildings can cost-effectively drive tremendous improvements in our economy and environment,"  USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chairman Rick Fedrizzi said in statement.

"Green building can stimulate the economy at a level one and a half times larger than the federal stimulus bill. In terms of climate change, a commitment to energy efficiency would be the equivalent to taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger cars and light trucks -- more than 200 million vehicles -- off the road."

Image courtesy of McKinsey.