When you think about an energy-efficient building, you may
picture a newly constructed building that meets or exceeds
LEED® standards and features many energy-saving bells and
whistles. However, there is a great opportunity to save energy by
rehabilitating an existing building instead of constructing a new
building. In fact, the real savings—in energy and
dollars—lie with existing roofs in the U.S., which encompass
50 billion square feet, according to the Center for Environmental
Innovation in Roofing.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and other policymaking
organizations have established efficiency targets for buildings
with the ultimate objective of net-zero energy and emissions. As a
result, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and
Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Inc. is developing standard
90.1-2010, "Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise
Residential Buildings," with the intention that when a typical
newly constructed commercial building is designed to comply with
the standard, it will consume 30 percent less energy than buildings
complying with ASHRAE 90.1-2004.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a typical
commercial building would consume more than 70,000 British thermal
units (Btu) per square foot (floor area) per year under ASHRAE
90.1-2004, in which case a potential 21,000 Btu per square foot per
year reduction could be achieved with an ASHRAE 90.1-2010-compliant
This new standard will provide substantial progress toward these
reduction targets when promptly adopted and effectively enforced.
However, the proposed standard language does not adequately address
energy-efficient improvements to...
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