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Getting to Fifty: Moving Towards Low-Energy Commercial Buildings in the United States
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The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) provides tax incentives for buildings in the U.S. designed to use 50% or less of the energy of typical code buildings. Upon passage of this important legislation, the New Buildings Institute (NBI) developed an initiative to first, determine how many recently constructed buildings would meet this standard, and second, develop a set of linked strategies to encourage and support the development of additional buildings that are designed to use 50% or less of the energy of typical construction, referred to as low-energy buildings. The NBI research indicated that, over the past several years, only about 1 new building in 1,000 in the U.S. is built to a level of efficiency that would qualify for the EPACT 2005 standard. While few in number, these low-energy buildings represent a variety of building types and sizes built across the country, supported by a wide mix of owners and design teams. The barriers to the widespread design and construction of low-energy buildings do not appear to be technical in nature, nor do they appear to be financial; more likely, they are related to the motivation of owners and the skill sets of design and construction teams. This paper explores the nature of these low-energy buildings and examines the strategies developed by a national team of experts to remove real-world obstacles and dramatically improve energy performance.
Frankel, M.; Hewitt, D.; Egnor, T. (2008). Getting to Fifty: Moving Towards Low-Energy Commercial Buildings in the United States. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from