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Small Buildings Present Energy Efficiency Opportunities

While some developers and builders focus on putting up new energy-efficient buildings, there’s a lot to be said for using an existing asset, such as an older building, and retrofitting it for energy efficiency. About 30 billion dollars worth each year, to be precise.

According to a new study, taking advantage of energy efficiency opportunities in small commercial buildings could yield $30 billion in savings each year, which would not only reduce their environmental footprint, but would also help to strengthen the bottom line for those businesses.

Small buildings (structures under 50,000 square feet) make up some 95% of all commercial buildings (by number), and represent about 47% of all energy consumption for commercial buildings (except for malls). That means that actions taken toward energy efficiency at the small building level could have a big impact on overall energy use, especially in urban areas.

The study, from the Preservation Green Lab, found that the potential energy savings in small buildings ranged from 27% up to a high of 59%, which is quite a significant amount, representing about 17% of annual commercial energy use. It also found that with smart investments in energy saving measures small businesses could boost their profitability by more than 10%.

A few of the key recommendations the study made:

  • Identify Waste and Measure Results: To realize the full energy saving potential of small buildings, energy policy makers must support solutions that measure, motivate and monetize real energy performance.
  • Plan for Improvement: To optimize energy efficiency in small buildings, investors must align the timing of energy saving improvements with natural opportunities in the life cycle of a building
  • Encourage Innovative New Business Models: Utilities and local energy regulators must collaborate with industry champions in
pilot projects, demonstrating how new technologies can more easily and cost effectively reach small businesses in different types of buildings.

The study, Realizing the Energy Efficiency Potential of Small Buildings, is available from Preservation Nation.

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