Local and regional governments around the world are increasingly adopting energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances as a central component of their efforts to save money for homes and businesses, reduce air pollution, and meet their commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.
The combined energy use of the world's buildings and electrical appliances accounts for 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Because most of the changes that improve their energy efficiency save money—or can be achieved for little to no cost—accelerating the transition to super-efficient building techniques, energy efficient appliances, and efficient lighting is the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, decisions about the amount of energy consumed by houses, buildings, and appliances are not typically made by the consumers who use them. Home buyers want to save money on their energy bills, but their homes' proximity to schools and jobs are typically higher-level considerations. Similarly, businesses rent commercial space based primarily on cost per square foot—a metric which can mask the oversized operating costs of an inefficient space with outdated technology for lighting or air conditioning.
The best way to solve this problem is to help develop national building energy codes and energy efficiency standards for appliances. These codes and standards can ensure that builders and manufacturers create products that utilize the most innovative, energy-efficient techniques and technologies to reduce carbon emissions and save money for end users. In addition, governments can further promote energy efficiency by developing labels that help consumers understand the benefits of more efficient models.
By updating energy codes and standards on a regular basis, policymakers can create powerful incentives for the large-scale adoption of innovative new technologies—which usually get more efficient with time.
The Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) serves as the leading international voice and resource for energy standards and labeling for commonly used appliances. CLASP, ClimateWorks’ Best Practice Network for appliances, promotes policies that save consumers money, reduce power demand, and slash greenhouse gas emissions.
CLASP assists policymakers with the design, implementation, and enforcement of appliance standards and labels. Between 1999 and 2005, CLASP assisted with the implementation of 24 standards and/or labels and provided S&L assistance to over 50 countries. These efforts will save over 30 Mt CO2 annually by 2020.
The Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN) is ClimateWorks’ Best Practice Network for buildings. The GBPN focuses on the design, implementation, and enforcement of building codes for new buildings, as well as the retrofit of existing buildings. The GBPN is in the process of establishing regional centers of excellence for building efficiency in China and India. These centers will support local policymakers as they craft policies that capture the energy-savings potential in the buildings and appliances sector. Click here for more information about the Global Buildings Performance Network.
Buildings Performance Institute Europe
The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) is the first regional hub of GBPN. BPIE serves as a source for impartial, authoritative information on energy efficiency in European buildings—a service that is urgently needed as European officials consider the Performance in Buildings Directive, an energy-efficiency policy that covers all new construction and major renovations in existing buildings.
Global Buildings Performance Network at the Institute for Market Transformation
The U.S. hub for the GBPN is a collaboration between ClimateWorks and the Institute for Market Transformation, a global expert in building energy efficiency. The U.S. hub will improve building energy efficiency and strengthen the connection between energy-efficient building design and operations through energy codes and labeling and disclosure policies. An early emphasis of the U.S. hub will be on code compliance and will draw from the work of a broad base of jurisdictions to compile best practices in improving building performance.
Building codes can dramatically improve the efficiency of homes, offices, and other structures by prescribing the design, materials, and equipment, or by setting a performance standard that gives developers and architects more freedom in achieving compliance.
Appliance standards can shrink energy use by specifying particular features and devices, or by setting a minimum standard and allowing manufacturers to engineer a solution.
News & Reports
"The Efficiency Boom: Cashing In on the Savings from Appliance Standards," is the most recent in a series of analyses by ACEEE and ASAP assessing the impacts of existing standards and the the potential for new and updated appliance standards. Taking into account products sold from the inception of each national standard through 2035, existing standards will net consumers and businesses more than $1.1 trillion in savings cumulatively.
In order to better understand the views of business leaders in the buildings sector, GBPN worked with the Economist Intelligence unit to produce "Energy Efficiency and Energy Savings: A View from the Building Sector." The EIU surveyed over 400 global building sector executives and found categorically that accelerating the implementation of energy efficiency measures in buildings is feasible. Executives underestimate the returns but are already implementing efficiency measures in their building and urge more commitment and policy direction from governments.
In this systematic review of building energy codes, energy labels, and financial instruments in China, the E.U., India, and the U.S., the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers insight into shared experiences and best practices in those regions. This report was commissioned by GBPN, ClimateWorks' partner in the buildings sector and shows how effective policies can drive emissions reductions.
Introduction to technical requirements and background information for energy efficient building codes in ten Asian countries or cities.