Energy Efficiency Measures Cut Utility Bills, Drive Economic Growth
Efforts to reduce the amount
of energy used in the U.S. have
worked by dropping energy
intensity and saving customers around
$800 billion in 2014, according to a new
report from the American Council for an
Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The study notes that while U.S. energy
use has increased 26% and GDP has risen
149% since 1980, energy intensity has
dropped from 12,100 BTUs/dollar to 6,100
BTUs/dollar due to improvements in
energy efficiency and structural changes
to the economy.
The researchers cite a variety of energy
efficiency advances that have taken place
since 1980 to explain the difference,
including a drop in industrial energy
use per unit value of product, improved
motor vehicle fuel economy, and fewer
energy losses in the electric transmission
and distribution system. Additionally, the
authors note that cost-effective energy
efficiency opportunities exist that could
reduce energy use by 40-60% by 2050
compared to current predictions.
“In order to harvest these large efficiency opportunities, we need to take our
efforts to a higher level. The challenges
are many, but so are the benefits in terms
of lower energy bills, a stronger economy,
improved energy security and a cleaner
environment,” says Steven Nadel, coauthor of the report and ACEEE Executive Director.
The report also offers six suggestions
that FMs can use to improve energy efficiency in their own buildings:
1) Improve systems integration by using
sensors, controls, big data and computer chips to monitor and control energy
ACEEE recommends bigger retrofits, equipment upgrades and improved system integration to
improve building energy efficiency.
use in real-time.
2) Upgrade equipment like elevators,
televisions and computer monitors to
newer, more efficient models.
3)Consider new construction options
such as zero net energy and ultra-low-energy facilities.
4)Expand building retrofits to cover more
improvements and yield larger savings
5)Consider options such as combined heat
and power systems (CHP).
6)Create initiatives that encourage occupants to use and waste less energy
during the course of the day.
How a Historic Church Slashed Energy Expenses
Manhattan’s iconic Riverside
Church has a long, storied his-
tory of good works, inviting such
luminaries as Nelson Mandela and the
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to speak to
its interdenominational congregation.
Church leaders strive to make life better
for worshippers and their wider com-
munity – and a recent energy efficiency
retrofit will help them achieve that
The church welcomed a suite of new
digital controls for its HVAC system and
insulation on boilers and pipes to cut
energy costs while improving comfort.
These upgrades will save 131,000 therms
and 204,000 k Wh per year, and thanks
to incentives, the church is on track for a
payback under three years.
Con Ed, the church’s local utility,
provided $217,000 toward the $541,000
cost of the controls, which are part of the
new building management system. They
replace the church’s original manual con-
trols. Building managers can now pre-set
the temperature in various zones of the
church and can even operate the system
remotely if needed.
The utility also contributed $68,500
RIVERSIDE CHURCH, an iconic interdenominational Christian church in New York
City, hosted the funeral of baseball legend
Jackie Robinson in 1972.
toward the $178,000 cost of the insulation. By keeping heat from escaping from
piping, ducts, boilers, tanks and steam
traps, it ensures that more heat makes it
through the pipes to warm the church.
The insulation jackets on the boilers are
custom-made and can be opened at the
boiler door for inspections.
Riverside’s energy savings will prevent
837 tons of carbon emissions every year,
and its total avoided greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to removing 177 cars
from the road annually or saving 1,945
barrels of oil. The money that once went
to utility bills can now be redirected into
“This technology will help us save energy and provide a more pleasant space for
our worshippers and staff,” says the Rev.
Michael Livingston, Executive Minister at
Riverside Church. “Caring for the planet’s
resources and for everyone’s well-being is
part of our stewardship of God’s creation.”