Posted by Big Gav
More than one-third of all global energy is consumed by, or in, buildings, which in turn account for about 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Clinton Climate Initiative, a program initiated in 2006 by former President Bill Clinton’s foundation. In modern cities, with their high densities of multiunit residential and office structures, inefficient buildings can account for as much as 80 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions.
A variety of experts — including analysts at the international management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and researchers at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a U.S.-based energy and resources research institute — have long recognized that, compared with other tacks like building solar farms and extracting oil from algae, improving efficiency across all sectors, from transportation to housing, is low-hanging fruit.
And yet progress has, until recently, been painfully slow.
“Increasing energy end-use efficiency — technologically providing more desired service per unit of delivered energy consumed — is generally the largest, least expensive, most benign, most quickly deployable, least visible, least understood and most neglected way to provide energy services,” the Rocky Mountain Institute’s chief executive and founder, Amory Lovins, wrote in 2005.
Four years later, that neglect appears, bit by bit, to be changing. ...