By Juan Miranda, Climate Corps Fellow
Juan Miranda is an Energy and Sustainability Associate Fellow for San Timoteo Energy Associates.
1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Commercial and residential buildings account for approximately 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Depending on your organization, buildings could represent the majority or close to the entirety of its carbon footprint. Therefore, decarbonizing your buildings may be the most important step you can take to contribute to global efforts to address climate change and build a better world for future generations.
2. Save Money on Your Bills
Implementing energy-efficient measures can help reduce your carbon emissions while greatly reducing your energy bills. Many of the most significant money saving measures are low or even no-cost measures such as adjusting the schedules of your major energy-using equipment.
3. Getting Ahead of Compliance
Recent shifts in building regulation suggests that building decarbonization is a matter of when not if. Building code for new construction pushes for increasing energy efficiency and electric homes, and code for existing buildings is heading in the same direction. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District recently banned gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters sales beginning in 2027, and California is doing the same beginning in 2030.
Performance standards for commercial buildings have also begun to spring up around the country. Washington state’s Clean Building Performance Standard mandates not only require buildings to stay within energy use intensity targets (EUIt) but also to undergo an energy benchmarking and planning process to ensure energy efficient building performance over time. New York City, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis have implemented similar laws. It is reasonable to expect that thorough building performance standards for existing buildings will be legislated in many more places, particularly California.
4. Improved Building Performance and Occupant Comfort
Decarbonizing your building not only benefits the environment but can also lead to improved building performance and occupant comfort. Part of the decarbonization process includes fine-tuning your building to ensure that it is operating at maximum efficiency. This can involve assessing equipment schedules, creating an energy management program, and implementing an operations and maintenance program to keep your building running smoothly.
By optimizing your building's performance, you can potentially reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality, and ensure that your building is comfortable and safe for occupants. Additionally, the installation of new energy-efficient equipment and technologies, such as smart thermostats and LED lighting, can further enhance building performance and occupant comfort.
5. Send a Powerful Message
By decarbonizing your buildings, you send a message to your stakeholders, customers, and community that your organization is committed to reducing its environmental impact and addressing the urgent threat of climate change. Taking this step shows that your organization leads by example and can help inspire others to take action on climate change.
The SEI Team
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