The United States has reached some lofty, progressive goals in its time. Missions to the moon and the development and evolution of the Internet prove that over time, efforts made towards even the largest of accomplishments are worthwhile ventures. What’s the next big thing? Going green with energy management and building automation.
Most buildings do not reach their building energy efficiency potential. Structures that can last beyond a century are being designed in ways that will doom their energy performance for decades. By improving building codes, energy-saving features will become common practice, and expenses on energy will decrease sufficiently.
The process starts out small, beginning with improved insulation measures, higher specifications for air quality monitoring and control, HVAC equipment, energy-efficient lighting control and elevator technology and elevator access control, better windows and options for renewable resources like solar panels.
One of the most effective ways to decrease carbon dioxide emissions involves building automation. Although only used by employees on average between the hours of 8am and 5pm, buildings generate 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Until or unless a dramatic improvement is made in building energy, our society will not succeed at combating climate change.
By addressing building codes that govern how buildings are designed and constructed, energy building codes can play a major role in the green revolution. The International Code Council (ICC) releases an updated building energy management code every three years to the world. States and local jurisdictions adopt those model codes or use them as guidelines in local code developments.
Codes for 2012 propose changes that would result in commercial buildings that are up to 30% more efficient than today’s standards. Creating minimum standards at this level of efficiency is imperative, practical and feasible. Though it’s three years away, we can expect to see progress in the meantime.