Energy efficiency is progressively becoming more impactful on consumer decision making. Whether it’s the average miles per gallon of a new car, or the size of a house you’re considering buying, in today’s economy, every penny matters. So why throw them away due to energy IN-efficiency?
A high energy-efficiency rating, or EER, can save homeowner’s money on each month’s utility bills. Last year, a global EER survey found that 44% of people wanted more green-building certification approvals. But in order to push through with wide-spread energy renovations, we must combine the two indexes currently in use: the Operational-Rating System, and the Asset-Rating System. Here’s why:
The ORS takes a building’s past energy bills and square foot measurements and calculates a percentile rating. This allows companies to know exactly how efficient their current properties are. Since 2008, two states and a handful of U.S. cities have relied on this system. To the layperson, the ORS sounds legitimate. However, it has one obvious flaw: how can you compare a structure built back in the 1950s to one from the 21 Century? They’re comprised of different materials. Modeled after different architectural styles. In other words: it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
And that’s exactly why experts developed the Asset-Rating System. The ARS analyzes a building’s energy infrastructure and future potential. In newer buildings, this demonstrates to prospective buyers how best to maximize the system. As soon as the building is operational though, the ORS becomes crucial, since it flags owners who knowingly waste energy.
Clay Nesler, vice-president for the building efficiency division of Johnson Controls, a corporation that focuses on energy efficiency, claims that EERs should be seen “as one of a number of tools that when combined with other policies can really drive greater investment in energy efficiency.”
So is your head hurting from all the economic, technical mumbo-jumbo yet?
Well, luckily some countries like Australia have been able to wrap their heads around it. They only rent from buildings with high EERs. And since the Australian government leases more space than any other private business, buildings with lower ratings decrease in market value.
In 2010, the European Union passed the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, legislation which requires all states to raise their standards of efficiency. In last year’s EER survey, respondents favored tax incentives and rebates for buildings with high EERs, versus government investment in renovation and restoration.
By combining the two energy-efficiency ratings, governments can essentially help more businesses pass green certification, while enticing others to follow suit.
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