It rarely makes headlines. Talking heads on cable news barely mention it. But for most businesses, energy efficiency plays an important role in saving money and reducing carbon emissions. We need to push the value of ‘energy moneyball’ to make real change accessible for all.
Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you. It takes a lot of work and a lot of money just to keep the lights on. But what if the lights cost less?
The impact of simply keeping homes and businesses lit and warm takes a lot of energy. In Europe, for example, 40% of total energy use and roughly 36% of carbon emissions are linked to simply making these spaces habitable.
In many ways, energy efficiency offers a more accessible approach for businesses than implementing renewable energy systems on-site. While communities and states invest in grid-scale renewable energy and storage, businesses need incentives and subsidies to take care of things under their own roof, and possibly on it. In the US, the American Jobs Plan sets a goal of upgrading over 2 million homes and businesses with vastly improve energy efficiency, from insulation to more efficient light bulbs and. A similar, much more ambitious effort in Europe is targeting 35 million buildings for renovation by the year 2030.
There are many ideas that start at the single-property level that could possibly serve as the grassroots of a more sustainable energy environment. In addition to improving HVAC systems, there are benefits to on-site generation as a next step. By first reducing energy needs, renewable generation and storage is even more beneficial in terms of return on investment. Additionally, more locally sourced energy greatly reduces the need for transmission lines, especially in hot climates where power lines are extremely inefficient in the summer. It also provides the opportunity for properties to lower costs, avoids blackouts, and reduce the risk of fluctuating hourly and over longer periods of time.
Finally, for commercial offices, municipalities and state governments can incentivize certified sustainable buildings. It costs roughly 17% more to build a sustainable office building while improving efficiency on existing buildings can vary greatly in expense. Still, there is ample evidence that sustainable office spaces are leased more quickly, and landlords typically include charge up to 16% more with sustainability as a premium. As more states focus on rewarding sustainable construction, rewarding developers and businesses leasing sustainable offices could drive efficient construction and more responsible energy behavior, too.
We live this stuff. To learn more about energy efficiency and to schedule a free consultation, get in touch with Keen today.