Another metric on energy efficiency

It's hardly a surprise that making energy efficiency improvements to buildings saves money and can benefit the environment in terms of reduced fossil fuel burning and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Study after study tells us that, and now here's another one.

Last week, Environment America released a report, "Building a Better America," showing that if the lessons of high-efficiency homes and buildings were applied to all buildings, the nation could reduce energy 24 percent by 2030.

It matters because 40 percent of the nation's energy is used by buildings, the organization said in a press release. "And because much of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power, this accounts for nearly half of global warming pollution in the country."

On the heels of that came a Pennsylvania-specific announcement today from PennEnvironment, the state branch of the organization.

Pennsylvania families could save $400 every year on their electricity bills by 2030 if the government invests in the energy efficiency of our buildings today, PennEnvironment concluded. 

At the same time, the group pointed out, the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council voted recently to delay inclusion of these energy-saving (and money-saving) measures in the statewide building code until at least 2015.

The group got a nod of agreement from Shari Shapiro, a LEED accredited professional and attorney in the energy, environment and utilities practice at the Cozen O'Connor law firm.

"This study comes at a very important time for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," she said in the press release. "Until 2011, Pennsylvania's building and energy codes were some of the most efficient in the nation. This year, Pennsylvania is poised to reject new building energy codes, and miss out on 15% greater building efficiency. This study proves that good policies, including strong building codes and appliance standards, are critical for improving building energy efficiency and saving money."