and Energy Use
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."
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.
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.