NEEP’s Buildings initiatives help to improve energy efficiency in today’s buildings and pave the way for the proliferation of zero energy buildings throughout the region.
REGULATION: Building energy codes dictate the minimum level of energy efficiency that new buildings and renovations of existing buildings can be built to. In this way, energy codes represent the building energy efficiency “floor”—the least efficient buildings that can be constructed by law. By adopting newer, more efficient codes and complying more completely with these codes, states and municipalities can help to raise this floor incrementally towards the zero net energy goal.
VALUATION: Building energy rating provides a way for owners and tenants to understand a building’s energy use and quantify the building’s building energy efficiency in the marketplace. This valuation of energy use drives actions such as energy retrofits that transform lagging buildings into leaders. As such, building energy rating represents the “walls” of building energy efficiency—the connection between the floor set by energy codes and the ceiling set by high performance buildings. Multi-family buildings represent a particularly significant opportunity for capturing energy efficiency savings through cost-effective retrofit measures since they compose a substantial share of the housing stock in the region and have been historically underserved by efficiency programs.
BEST PRACTICES: High performance public buildings allow states and municipalities to lead by example through the construction, operation, and maintenance of highly efficient or zero net energy buildings. High performance schools incorporate measures aimed to ensure healthy indoor environmental quality alongside criteria demanding efficient energy, water, site, and material use. High performance communities go one step further by extending all of these principles at a district or neighborhood level. These high performance facilities represent the building energy efficiency “ceiling”—exemplary projects that demonstrate the benefits of moving towards zero net energy buildings.