Buildings in the United States continue to be one of the largest users of energy, accounting for approximately 41 percent of all energy consumption, 72 percent of electricity usage, and over one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As expenditures on energy efficiency programs in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic are expected to climb to nearly $2.5 billion through 2013 - tripling investment levels from five years ago - policies focused on advanced building energy codes and building energy rating not only complement and enhance energy efficiency programs, but ensure a better return on investment.
Unlike automobiles, appliances or other consumer devices, buildings, by their very nature, are meant to last (meaning that a building built today will have an impact on U.S. energy use for 50 to 100 years or even more). Building energy codes are particularly effective at improving the energy efficiency of the built environment by setting minimum efficiency requirements for new and renovated buildings. Advancing these codes over time to make them more energy efficient and easier to enforce, as well as comply with, is a sure strategy for cutting energy use and saving money over the life of the building.