Mission Accomplished? Not Just Yet, But We Have the Momentum
January 2012 | Research & Analysis
“The good news is, the train has left the station. The only question now is, are we on the local or the express? Our role is to ensure we’re on the express.” – Edward Mazria
Each year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes its forecast for U.S. building energy consumption. Since the 2030 Challenge was issued, this outlook has vastly improved.
A HEALTHY DECLINE
The following graph shows the EIA’s 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) projections to the year 2030, clearly illustrating that estimates of residential and commercial building energy use to 2030 have been dropping dramatically since 2005 – by nearly 70% – due to considerable movement within the Building Sector to improve building design and efficiency.
AMERICANS WILL SAVE TRILLIONS
In its most recent estimate, the AEO 2011 forecasts that American consumers will spend $3.66 trillion less on energy between 2012 and 2030 than was originally projected in 2005.
If, by 2030, we embrace the most efficient building technologies available, these savings will top $6 trillion.
MORE BUILDINGS, LESS ENERGY
In 2005, the AEO forecast an increase in total U.S. building floor area of 51.9% from 2005 to 2030, with energy consumption and CO2 emissions increasing by 44.4% and 53.1% respectively. While the AEO 2011 projects a slightly lower building floor area increase of 38.6% over this same time period, the projected energy consumption and related CO2 emissions from the Building Sector are dramatically less than what was projected in 2005. The Building Sector is becoming less energy and carbon intensive.
If we take advantage of the best available technologies, total U.S. building energy consumption and CO2 emissions in 2030 will be reduced even further, falling well below where they were in 2005.
CLOSING IN ON THE 2030 CHALLENGE
Improved building design and efficiency has put the 2030 Challenge energy reduction target within reach.
The AEO 2011 projects that the average Primary Energy Use Intensity of the Building Sector will continue to decrease and, in the best available technology case, begin to approach the goal of the 2030 Challenge.
The Building Sector is transforming. The question is, will it transform quickly enough?
In order to adequately address the energy and climate crises, we need to build on our current momentum and re-double our efforts towards meeting the 2030 Challenge targets by:
Expanding the AIA+2030 Professional Education Series.
Providing access to relevant tools, resources, and information.
Generating and adopting advanced building energy codes.
Primary energy consumption is the energy consumed for operating buildings – heating, cooling, lighting, and equipment – including the energy lost in the production and transmission of electricity.
The Expanded Standards and Codes case assumes improvement in appliance and equipment efficiencies and national building energy codes reaching a 30-percent improvement relative to the IECC 2006 for residential households and ASHRAE 90.1-2004 for commercial buildings by 2020 (adoption of the IECC 2012), with additional rounds of 5% improved codes in 2023 and 2026 (see AEO 2011).
The Best Available Technology case limits purchases of new and replacement appliances and future equipment choices to the most efficient available in the year of replacement, and assumes that new home construction adopts the most energy-efficient components for insulation, windows, and space conditioning equipment and commercial buildings incorporate high efficiency of building shells for new and existing buildings (see AEO 2011).
Total current U.S. building stock square footage is 280 billion square feet.
As of AEO 2011, total projected U.S. building stock square footage in the year 2030 is 377 billion square feet, with 62.38% of the building stock either built new or renovated.
Architecture 2030’s mission is to rapidly transform the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central solution to the climate crisis.