10 American Cities Will Lead the Nation on Energy Efficiency

From The Huffington Post

By Peter Lehner

In our cities, big buildings often run 24/7. Offices are continuously heated or cooled, elevators are running, lights, computers and equipment are on, continuously humming. Because they’re constantly in operation — you can’t really unplug a building — our buildings use enormous amounts of electricity, and are responsible for 40 percent of America’s global warming pollution. In most cities, the proportion is even higher — up to 50 or even 75 percent of carbon emissions come from buildings.

What’s really galling is that buildings waste a lot of the energy they use. The DOE estimates that commercial buildings waste up to 30 percent of the energy they consume. This energy waste is literally money out the window. And, since most of our energy comes from fossil fuels, inefficient buildings add to the burden of air pollution that sickens city residents and the carbon pollution that is fueling destructive extreme weather events. Making buildings more efficient presents a major opportunity for cities to save money, improve air quality, and become more resilient. Many efficiency measures pay for themselves within three to five years.

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