How to create more than one million new jobs, a thriving building industry, save consumers $128 billion, and reduce carbon emissions by 433.2 million metric tons in five years? Invest in energy efficient buildings – about $21.6 billion per year for five years (a price tag neatly covered by the savings). So says a new study released by Architecture2030 at the Eileen Rockefeller Growald Symposium on Collaborative Philanthropy in San Francisco last week.
As I reported recently in a post on the Cambridge Energy Alliance, nearly half of all energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are from buildings. Numerous sources point out that the quickest and most cost effective means of creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and making serious inroads toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions is through building energy efficiency.
In 2006, Architecture2030 issued the 2030 Challenge calling for all new building and major renovation to reduce fossil fuel energy consumption and GHG emissions by 50% by 2010, thereafter increasing reductions incrementally every five years to the target of “carbon neutral” by 2030.
According to the study, not only is this an achievable goal, but an economic opportunity of a generation. Says Edward Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, “Although difficult, the economic and global warming crises are the motivation we need as a nation to retool our thinking. If we’re smart enough to jump on this opportunity, we will not only solve global warming, we will set the US up for unprecedented economic success.”
I hope we’re smart enough to seize the opportunity.