I came across something recently that struck a chord. It was the Department of Energy’s October 2013 report titled “Building Energy Codes Program: National Benefits Assessment, 1992-2040.”

I still am learning the ropes of the plumbing and mechanical engineering beat (a little print journalism lingo for you) and when I come across these types of reports, it’s very beneficial because I continue to familiarize myself with what is happening out in the field.

My promise to you is that I will be an editor that is not rigid in the way things operate at pme or how I view this industry. We all must be willing to be flexible in the way we shape our opinions and do business. 

As I read through the Executive Summary of the report, I learned that commercial and residential buildings account for about 41% of all energy consumption in the United States. At first blush, that number was a little higher than I would’ve expected. Then I took a look at the Chicago Skyline. It was a nearby reminder of how much you can pack into a few square miles.

According to DOE, the Building Energy Codes Program has saved more than $44 billion in the 20 years since its implementation. The report also estimates that by 2040 it will have helped building owners save up to $230 billion in utility bills and 3.995 million tons in carbon savings.

And that is just at the current estimated pace. More dollars and emissions can be salvaged if, as an industry, we ramp up our efforts.

Help is out there, too.

DOE develops the Building Energy Codes Program by working with key groups in this industry such as the International Code Council and ASHRAE. The DOE also will work with engineers, designers and building owners by providing:

  • Technical assistance to state and local governments to help facilitate the adoption process; and
  • Resources to building industry stakeholders and enforcement officials to improve code compliance, including compliance software tools, training materials and technical support.

Are you taking full advantage of all resources at your disposal?

Recently, a longtime friend from high school and I got together and were discussing those awkward four years in the Milwaukee suburbs. My biggest regret was not engaging in more avenues provided by my teachers and the school. I did what was needed to get solid grades and move on to college. I wonder what course I might have taken if I were just a little more aggressive and willing to challenge myself harder.

One of the earliest pieces of knowledge I picked up when I joined this industry was that energy-saving products and projects have a large upfront price tag. But, when I see that $44 billion has already been saved in 20 years, I can’t believe that commercial building owners wouldn’t want to get a piece of that giant savings pie.

It’s up to all of us to convince them. Some extra dollar bills on the bottom line is a perfect place to start.