A major consulting company, McKinsey & Company, studied the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the findings were: biodiesel, carbon capture and storage and many other measures have high costs to reduce emissions compared to "business as usual"; better building insulation, lighting systems, air-conditioning, and water heating are among the most cost-effective measures - all with long-term net income (not costs) over "business as usual"; and improved building Insulation has the highest income
The intended audience of the study - policy makers - have listened and are starting to enact many changes related to buildings' efficiency, such as Building performance Disclosures and the upcoming 2012 building codes in the U.S. and Canada with much more stringent insulation and air infiltration requirements (stay tuned for updates).
We know that the operating costs of a typical building over its lifetime easily exceed its construction cost - sometimes by a multiple. The conclusion is that building owners and o perators should minimise the Total Cost of Ownership instead of only the cost of construction. One of the tools to help is a Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA).
Some other facts from the US Department of Energy:
- The U.S. residential and commercial sectors consume almost 45 per cent of all energy used (rest is industrial and transportation)
- Heating, cooling, and ventilation use about 56 per cent of the energy in a typical U.S. home and about 51 per cent for commercial buildings, making it the single largest o perating expense
If I'm not making a mistake with these statistics, it appears that a very large portion - almost a quarter - of all energy used in the U.S. is for space heating, cooling and ventilation. Insulated Concrete Form building envelopes can reduce the heating and cooling component by up to 70 per cent compared to 'business a usual' probably making it the single biggest and most cost-effective cut in a building's Total Cost of Ownership.
At last, policy makers and building owners and o perators are getting the knowledge and tools to make the right building envelope decisions.
Let's be ready to serve those needs.