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Green Blog

U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program

By FAF Staff Writer, (442 words) Posted in Green Building on November 3, 2009
There are (39) comments permalink

The U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program (BTP) relates primarily to energy efficiency and renewable energy. It is a collaborative initiative with state and local governments, the private sector, national laboratories and university. The program endeavors to enhance the efficiency of buildings and what they contain like equipment, systems and components within. The program relies on research and development activities and makes available guidelines, tools, training together with technical and financial resources. Buildings in the US have abundant opportunity for reducing energy and operating costs. BTP is trailblazing new paths toward zero energy building design using advanced technologies.

Buildings in the US today consume the highest amount of energy, even more than the transportation or industry sector. Most of the millions of buildings having been built prior to 1979 provide enormous scope for improved efficiency through retrofits and/or replacements. So doing will open an enormous opportunity to reduce the country’s energy consumption. BTP seeks to improve strategies and techniques in the design, building and operation of buildings of the future and thus addresses the predictable increase in new construction.

BTPs 2008 Buildings Energy Data Book reveals the following statistics relevant to 2006:

  • There were approximately 113 million residential buildings in the US
  • These accounted for 21% of primary energy consumption and 20% of carbon dioxide emissions in the country
  • Energy for residences cost $225.6 billion
  • 59% of homes were built in or before 1979
  • Commercial floor space in 2006 amounted to 74.8 billion square feet
  • This accounted for 18% of primary energy consumption and used 36% of the nations electricity
  • $190.5 billion was spent on improvements and repairs
  • A 2003 survey reported that 54% of commercial buildings in the country were built prior to 1979

Improvements in energy–efficient buildings including addressing lighting, daylighting, equipment and windows with increased reliance on passive solar and photovoltaic cells, fuel cells, advanced sensors, radiant floor heating and cooling, and controls. Such improvements have the potential for a dramatic transformation in today’s buildings. These advanced technologies incorporating an integrated whole building design approach which maximizes the interactions between building systems and components, will result in substantial reduction in energy usage in tomorrows buildings. Such savings will help meet the national targets for environmental protection, sustainable development and energy security.

The Move toward Zero Energy Buildings

The Zero Energy building research of the DOE propels the objectives of the BTP and ushers a new perception to building owners and builders across the country. A zero energy building is envisaged to produce over the year as much energy as it consumes through high levels of energy efficiency and reduced requirement. This is achieved with increased reliance on renewable energy technologies such as solar water heating and electricity generation.

BTP is researching site sensitive design, renewable energy technologies and recycled and sustainable materials toward zero energy commercial complexes of the future.

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