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Building Energy Ratings Policy Would Save $18bn, Create 59,000 Jobs by 2020, Report Finds

A national building energy rating and disclosure policy would cut energy costs by over $18 billion through 2020, and create more than 59,000 net new jobs in that time, a study from the Institute for Market Transformation finds.

According to IMT’s Analysis of Job Creation and Energy Cost Savings from Building Energy Rating and Disclosure Policy, compiled with the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a transparent and systematic evaluation of a building’s energy use – as clear as a miles-per-gallon sticker on an automobile – would incentivize property owners to improve the rating of their buildings.

The availability of this information would allow the market to factor energy performance into real estate leasing and investment decisions, and, in turn, the demand for energy-efficient buildings would be more easily matched. This would lead to more competition to improve energy performance of buildings, the report said.

Some states and local governments, including New York City, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and California, already have policy to measure and report building energy performance, as a means to motivate energy efficiency improvements in existing buildings. Similar policies are under consideration in more than 10 other state and local governments, IMT said.

IMT also said that a national policy would reduce annual energy consumption in the U.S. building sector by approximately 0.2 quadrillion Btus by 2020. This is based on the example of existing policies that typically require an annual energy rating for commercial buildings 25,000 square feet and greater in size. Representatives from USBGC, CB Richard Ellis, Natural Resources Defense Council, TIAA-CREF and other industry advisors supported IMT’s calculation of energy savings that can be achieved through capital upgrades or operational improvements, the report said.

A second report from IMT, Energy Disclosure and the New Frontier for American Jobs profiles business owners who are active – and expanding – in the field of building energy management.

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