Thursday, January 14, 2010

Harris Offers Ideas for Achieving Net Zero Energy

Jeff Harris, Vice President of Programs for the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) in Washington, D.C., emphasized the importance of striving for Net Zero Energy during the second day of the Energy Solutions Conference, which is being held by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) this week at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago.

Harris described Net Zero Energy buildings as those that produce as much energy as they use.

According to Harris, buildings are the largest users of electricity and natural gas in the country, accounting for as much as 40% of energy costs. Furthermore, estimates suggest the amount of energy U.S. buildings consume will increase by approximately 23% by 2030.

“Obviously, we need to act now to reverse this trend,” Harris said. “We simply must do whatever it takes to greatly reduce the amount of energy buildings are consuming.”

While reversing the trend of growing energy consumption in buildings poses significant challenges, it also offers certain opportunities. These include the development of new technologies and the creation of new jobs for those who can implement these technologies.

In closing, Harris expressed his belief that many current building codes are far too static. In order to achieve Net Zero Energy, he sees the need for them to become continually more stringent.

“Today’s best practices need to become tomorrow’s baseline practices,” Harris concluded. “We’re facing a big challenge, but with a lot of hard work we will be able to create the kind of future we are merely envisioning today.”

NFRC representatives are attending MEEA’s Energy Solutions Conference to promote awareness of NFRC’s activities and programs and to call attention to the role they can play in sustainable building and energy efficiency.

The Energy Solutions Conference concludes tomorrow, Friday, January 15.

MEEA Conference

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