07 Feb '12, 7pm

Why buildings haven’t gotten more efficient in 20 years

Why buildings haven’t gotten more efficient in 20 years

Everything single part of a building, from the windows the the air conditioning and heating system, has become significantly more energy efficient over the past 20 years. And yet buildings, as a whole, are using more or less the same amount of energy they always have. What gives? The problem is that most commercial structures are built by what amounts to an unruly mob, says Jim Freihaut, an engineer at one of the U.S. Government’s Energy Innovation Hubs , in Philadelphia. Electricians, plumbers, the architect who decides how many windows the exterior will have: They’re all struggling to create a structure that will function to spec. “None of them wants to be responsible for a building that is too hot or stuffy, can’t heat its water or is too dim,” notes Saqib Rahim at Climatewire . The result is a structure that is overbuilt to meet the needs of its inhabitants — its air c...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/why-buildings-havent-gotten-more-ef...

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