greenhouse gas emissions

Building A Way Out: Better Building Codes Mean Less Energy Consumption

An important commentary by DailyKos diarist gmoke hit the Diary Rescue list last night.  The piece was essentially conveying the review of the Waxman-Markey bill (H.R. 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009). In particular, the diarist and the source article he quotes from (Architecture 2030's review of the bill here -- PDF alert!) speak specifically about the importance of Section 201:


Architecture 2030 analyzed the Waxman-Markey climate bill (H.R. 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) and really likes Section 201 which covers energy building codes because buildings are responsible for

  • 50.1% of total annual U.S. energy consumption
  • 49.1% of total annual U.S. GHG emissions
  • 74.5% of total annual U.S. electricity consumption
  • most of the projected 7.34 QBtu increase in U.S. electricity consumption by 2030

Section 201 strengthens building codes so that by 2010 buildings will be 30% below the baseline energy code (IECC 2006 and ASHRAE 90.1-2004), increases that to 50% below the baseline energy code by 2014-2015, and adds an additional 5% reduction every three years after, out to 2029-2030.


Whereas the 100 nuclear power plants only act as a replacement energy source, the updated building energy codes of Section 201 actually reduce energy consumption, eliminating the need for more plants. The codes also achieve more than six times the emissions reductions as 100 nuclear power plants. The codes accomplish all of this at a fraction of the cost.


It appears that simply by being smarter about how we build our homes, businesses and various other structures, we can reduce our energy consumption and thus have a seriously positive effect on reducing GHGs as well as impacting energy and environmental goals.

Good to know.