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and Energy Use


Energy use and our environment are inexorably coupled. The International Panel on Climate Change, a prestigious group of 2,500 scientists from around the world, stated in their 1995 report that "...human activities are having a discernible impact on global climate."

It has also been estimated that more than 85% of our influence on climate is a direct result of energy use and that, in the United States, about 35% of our primary energy consumption stems from energy use in buildings. Our best scientific estimates indicate that energy use in buildings can be cost effectively reduced by 30-50%. If this were accomplished in only some 20-25% of new construction over the next decade it would be the equivalent of taking 20% of the cars off our roads. It would also save those building owners more than $40 billion in energy costs and achieve 10% of the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to comply with the Kyoto protocol.

For an exemplary illustration of what can be technically accomplished in this arena, consider the monitored air conditioning data in the figure below, which comes from a pair of side-by-side homes of the same floor plan and orientation but with different energy efficiency features.

These data show that the efficient home (labeled PVRES) uses 83% less energy for air conditioning than the standard home (labeled Control), which complies with Florida's minimum standards for building energy efficiency in new homes. For detailed information on the field tests represented by these monitoring data, visit the research report introduction on the FSEC web site.

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