Achieving Scale With Energy Efficiency

If interest is high in building energy efficiency in the United States, why aren’t investments in efficiency growing? Experts from local and federal governments, the private sector, and non-government organizations explored that question at a June 2013 Roundtable Dialogue in Washington, D.C., convened by the Johnson Controls Institute for Building Efficiency (IBE) and the Institute for Market Transformation, the U.S. hub of the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN). 

Among the more than 20 participants were: Scott DiBiasio of the Appraisal Institute; Philip Henderson of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean Lupinacci of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Chris Pyke of the U.S. Green Building Council; Brendan Shane of the D.C. Department of the Environment; and Robin Snyder of the U.S. General Services Administration. Jennifer Layke (IBE) and Jayson Antonoff (GBPN) led the discussion. 

Attendees reviewed results from two research studies on opportunities and challenges to wider adoption of energy efficiency and explored issues around financing, government policies, and organizational practices. Among the key takeaways:

  • The key challenge is to convince decision-makers to make energy efficiency a priority and create a strategic plan for continuous improvement.
  • Benchmarking and disclosure laws are important, but they need complementary policies to be effective in driving efficiency.
  • Stakeholders need to know what data from benchmarking means and how to use it.
  • Skepticism around co-benefits of efficiency (those beyond cost savings) needs to be dispelled, and the value of those benefits needs to be quantified.
  • Confusion in the market creates inaction: Messages need to be clear and policies concise and accessible.

Read the dialogue summary to learn more about the roundtable and these experts' views on the future of energy efficiency.