Why Aren't There More Energy-Efficient Buildings?

Monday, November 2, 2015

CityLab (10/22/15) Kolson Hurley, Amanda

Although architects increasingly are signing up for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment, a pledge to meet a 60-percent reduction in predicted energy-use intensity (pEUI) from baseline levels, few have designed buildings that meet that target. Architectural projects represented in AIA's database of projects have increased 78 percent in the past year, representing 2.4 billion square feet. But the average pEUI reduction reported by firms has only reached 34 percent, representing only a 3 percent improvement since AIA started collecting data in 2010. Architects are still learning to use new tools and processes that support energy-efficient design. For example, one tool, energy modeling, is either used too late in the design process or not at all. Using this tool early in the process enables designers to make adjustments that yield deeper energy reductions. To increase the learning curve, AIA co-organized online courses and created the AIA 2030 Design Data Exchange so architects can track their projects' energy characteristics. Cost-conscious building owners also are responsible for vetoing sustainable features. Government-mandated building energy codes and disclosure requirements will help enforce energy-efficient building techniques, as will continued narrowing of the cost gap between renewable and traditional power sources.

Amanda Kolson Hurley 11/2/2015

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