Energy efficiency focus in commercial buildings connects with residential builders

| by Gary Wollenhaupt
Energy efficiency focus in commercial buildings connects with residential builders

Commercial green building efforts are beginning to drive expectations for homeowners who interact with green technology at work.

A survey by Schneider Electric found that 43 of energy leaders say their investment in energy efficiency next year is projected to be more than it was last year.

That one of the results from earlier this year when Schneider Electric surveyed commercial building professionals at its Xperience Efficiency events in Washington, D.C. and Dallas. The survey included responses from 369 leaders in energy efficiency from business and government sectors and was intended to provide insight into the future of energy efficiency and challenges organizations face.

Pete Gray, director of business development for Schneider, talked with about the commercial trends for the residential building industry.

Q: How are green building efforts in commercial spaces affecting the trends for homeowners and builders?

A:If they work at a facility where when you walk into a room the light comes on and as you exit it, the goes off, even with those simple things we're seeing that awareness migrating into residential.

If you look at a recent Hanley Wood survey, consumes rate energy efficiency a priority of 6 out of 10. And that's been rising over a period of time. Also, when you combine the growing market share of home improvements, energy efficiency projects occupy about 32 percent of the market share in home improvement.

Q: What role does the electrical system of a home play in energy efficiency?

A: We've come up with the Wiser solution for energy management that's tied into demand response. It integrates the infrastructure of the home to communicate with other devices in the home and integrate solar power. We have developed an app and software that allows you to integrate any alternate energy source into the home.

Q: What will that mean for homeowners? 

A: With Wiser you can drive energy awareness so you can start to set budgets on a monthly basis and that drives behavior. If you live in a demand response area, Wiser will communicate with utility get rates instantly.

The first stage is driving awareness and behavior so that you can have the system say, you're starting to reach your budget at the end of the month, or if you want to run your drier or dishwasher now or wait until off-peak rates.

Q: How are you spreading the word about green building and the benefits for homeowners?

A:We're working with homebuilders to educate consumers that it's not about the up front costs, the savings come with operational efficiency, driving that cost of ownership down.

Q: What needs to happen for more energy-efficient homes to be built?

A:From a legislative standpoint, and mortgage standpoint, getting these new energy efficient products in the home, building more insulation, using high-efficiency windows, smart appliances that use less electricity and smart HVAC, they cost a little more to put into the home. We would like to see legislation around helping homeowners realize the fact that the home will cost more but over the long term the monthly bills will be lower. And we need help to have the mortgage industry recognize that. The homeowner could spend more upfront on energy efficiency solution and have lower cost of ownership and recognize that in the mortgage.

Read more about building green.

Topics: Building Green, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power, Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Sustainable Communities, Trends / Statistics

Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.

wwwView Gary Wollenhaupt's profile on LinkedIn

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