Billion-dollar trends in energy efficiency
Since 1992, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has administered the ENERGY STAR program to promote energy efficiency in homes and buildings. In partnership with more than 18,000 public and private sector organizations, the program has seen over $362 billion reductions in energy costs. In doing this, more than 2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions were averted, and the U.S. carbon footprint has, since 2005, been reduced by 9%.
Success like this comes from many sources. Among them, the energy efficiency of ENERGY STAR certified buildings ranks within the top 25% of buildings nationwide. In analyzing these results, the EPA has found trends in lighting, data use, and automation systems that make buildings more efficient.
First used in parking garages and exterior areas, LED lighting has come indoors. Lower prices and a wider availability or products have enabled businesses to retrofit to these more-efficient bulbs and fixtures.
The time intervals for measuring energy use has shrunk. Facility managers no longer have to rely on month-old utility bills to identify opportunities for savings. With data gathered in 15-minute intervals, managers can spot energy use variations in real-time. That makes problems easier to track down and correct. Savings can then appear on those monthly bills.
Building Automation Systems
As cities grow smarter, the buildings themselves have intelligence. Building automation enables remote monitoring and control of equipment. Just as homeowners can now adjust thermostats and switch lights on and off from anywhere with a cellular connection, facility managers can adjust HVAC settings, interior and exterior lighting, and much more.