q&a Commercial buildings consume nearly one fifth of the nation's energy. But that could change dramatically if by 2025 all new office and retail buildings generate as much energy as they use.
That's the goal of the U.S. Department of Energy's Zero-Net Energy Commercial Building Initiative, announced earlier this month. The Energy Department also is partnering with national labs and companies to advance technologies for office and retail buildings to offset their energy use.
The efforts support the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which calls for spending up to $200 million per year by 2013 to accelerate the development of high-performance green buildings. To start, the Department of Energy is giving $100,000 for green-building prizes to the California Clean Tech Open "start-up in a box" competition.
We chatted about the green-building goals last week by telephone with David Rodgers, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency in the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. That office is in transition as Assistant Secretary Andy Karsner, a green-tech advocate appointed by President Bush, is leaving at the end of August.
Q: What are some highlights of the department's net-zero building program? David Rodgers: We've been doing research on competitive technologies, such as solid-state lighting and advanced air conditioning. We've been working at a very advanced level to integrate those technologies into commercial building design and to make sure competitive technologies are working at maximum efficiency.
This program allows us to elevate the level of our work but also include multiple partners at national universities, national laboratories, and companies such as United Technologies or Johnson Controls.… Read more