An official website of the United States government

Energy Efficiency Increasing in U.S. Buildings
May 30, 2013

Green roofs, as seen atop a Chicago building, lessen the “urban heat island” effect and can help reduce power demands.

May 28, 2013
In businesses, factories, schools and other public buildings, they are dimming the lights and insulating the pipes to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

Participants in the Better Buildings Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, are reporting a 2.5 percent increase in efficiency since they entered the campaign in 2011. Commercial and industrial buildings account for roughly half of the nation’s entire energy consumption each year.

President Obama’s challenge to partners in this sector is to increase energy efficiency in public and commercial buildings by 20 percent in the year 2020, and double energy productivity by 2030. Energy productivity is defined as the amount of economic output achieved per energy unit consumed.

“The leadership and investments of our Better Buildings partners are demonstrating the promise of energy efficiency by reducing energy costs, helping to create American jobs and increasing competitiveness in the private sector,” said newly installed Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, as the campaign results were announced May 22.

More than 110 organizations — public, private, commercial and industrial — have taken up the challenge. They work with the Energy Department to achieve energy savings across the range of their operations and facilities and then share their methods with others to multiply the effects. Challenge partners have launched efficiency projects in more than 7,700 facilities, according to an Energy Department press release.

Macy’s, among the nation’s largest retailing chains, has committed close to 16 million square meters of space to the challenge. Several state governments — including Delaware, Massachusetts and North Carolina — are working on energy savings in their agencies’ buildings. Big cities, school districts and university campuses are also taking the efficiency pledge.

Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, is stepping up efficiency in its public spaces at the same time owners of commercial and residential buildings are joining the commitment for efficiency.

Prologis leases business and industrial spaces for distribution and manufacturing purposes to companies worldwide. For its part in the Better Buildings Challenge, Prologis is aiming for increased efficiency in almost 9.3 million square meters, aiming to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.