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Friday, July 16, 2010

California's Buildings Waste Huge Amounts of Energy, Study Says | Buildings |

California's Buildings Waste Huge Amounts of Energy, Study Says | Buildings |

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Although California is a leader in green building and emissions reductions policy, its commercial structures account for 37 percent of energy use in the state -- and as much as 80 percent is wasted, according to a study released by the nonprofit group Next 10.

"Up to 80 percent of the energy used by commercial buildings is going up in smoke," said F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10, an independent organization that supports research, education and action to improve California.

"As our state struggles to emerge from recession, relatively low tech energy efficiency fixes could save California businesses and the state government significant money and help to generate jobs," Perry said in a news release about the white paper titled "Untapped Potential of Commercial Buildings: Energy Use and Emissions." The paper published this week was produced for Next 10 by the research and consulting organization Collaborative Economics.

The amount of energy consumed by commercial buildings in the state is close to the national average: Buildings account for 39 percent of the country's energy use, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.LA inset

But the amount of waste Perry describes can be surprising. The white paper from Next 10 provides California-specific figures for building performance and efficiency issues that are being wrestled with in other states and by the Obama administration.

In an executive order issued last fall, the president called for the federal government to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. In May, GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson proposed the government move toward a zero environmental footprint.

That target addresses new and existing facilities. The latter make up the greatest amount of building stock and are the greatest culprits when it comes to wasting energy. They also provide vast opportunities for energy and cost savings, the study said.

However, California has no energy efficiency standards for existing building stock, the paper pointed out.

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