We may finally have found a way to qualify and label the energy efficiency of buildings called the Energy Quotient. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) proposed this standard for reporting the energy consumption of buildings so that consumers can compare the energy use of one building to another. This is a concept whose time has come in order to make sound decisions about a building either to rent or own.
The Energy Quotient rates, grades and labels building from A+ to F for their efficiencies based on standards ASHRAE created. This is similar to how Energy Star rates products and gives them an energy consumption rating.
The benefit to this is that once the building industry reports these ratings publicly it’s going to drive building and home owners to make our buildings more efficient – not only new buildings going forward but retrofitting existing buildings. Just like remodeling a kitchen prior to selling a home to make it more marketable, owners will be making energy efficiency upgrades to improve marketability of all buildings before putting them on the market. This will propel the need to improve existing buildings, which is fantastic.
Initiatives like this provide another level of comparison that benefits the consumer and encourages us to improve what we do as it relates to energy consumption. It’s measurable, it can be reproduced, and it will accelerate our conservation efforts.
Economically motivated issues are more successful in our culture than mandated ones. Building owners will no longer need a mandate for energy efficiency if they have an economically motivated reason to do it. It takes energy efficiency efforts away from the programs and puts control back into the free market. This allows the free market to drive the point which it does with this simple label.
Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications at CertainTeed Corporation.