Jake Glavis – Green Building & ENERGY STAR
A recent article in Opposing Views examined the impact of ENERGY STAR – a voluntary, EPA supported program that allows for individuals and businesses increase energy efficiency. The program has been growing in popularity, with over 101,000 homes taking advantage of it in 2012 alone. Officials involved with the program equate this with taking 36,000 gasoline powered vehicles off the road, or preserving 150 million pounds of coal each year. The impact hasn’t been all environmental; ENERGY STAR homeowners save $32 million annually on utility bills.
“Cool roofs” and alternative insulation are just a few of the green enhancements that are available to homeowners. Builders and outfitters are employing energy efficient lighting, smart appliances and biodegradable construction materials where possible. ENERGY STAR buildings are of particular interest in urban areas where pollution and energy use is very high. This year the highest concentration of ENERGY STAR building have gone to Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta, NYC, San Francisco and Chicago.
Brookfield Homes, a national residential home builder, attests to the increasing market concern for sustainable practices in their building.
“Sustainability issues are a major concern for our society,” a company spokesperson said. “It’s important just for our very way of life. It also matters to homebuyers. More and more, our clients request the latest green techniques and energy efficient methods.”
The importance of green construction and green retrofits can be seen in the level of resource consumption by buildings. 72 percent of total electricity use can be attributed to buildings with the number expected to rise to 75 percent by 2025. These construction projects have the potential to save a great deal of energy and resources down the line.