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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

New, comprehensive database launches to help improve energy efficiency of buildings

Kaid Benfield

Posted March 11, 2011 in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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  ARD Building, Flagstaff AZ (by: Johnida Dockens, creative commons license)

My colleagues in NRDC’s energy program and their partners at The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) have launched of BuildingRating.org, “the world’s first comprehensive resource on energy performance rating and disclosure policies for homes and commercial buildings.”

The website contains a searchable library of rating and disclosure information along with a user-friendly, interactive map of global policies and programs.  In particular, users can search more than 100 countries and jurisdictions to learn where policies are enacted, how they are being implemented, what types of rating systems are used to evaluate energy performance, and how policies are affecting markets.

Historically, the measurement of building energy performance has been neglected in both the residential and commercial sectors.  This has restricted opportunities to assess energy-savings opportunities in homes and buildings and limited the ability of consumers to compare the energy performance of buildings and factor energy performance into their decisions to purchase or lease.  This information gap has prevented property and financial markets from accurately valuing energy-efficient homes and buildings and has constrained the market forces that should be driving investments in building efficiency.

Rating and disclosure is gaining acceptance around the world as a policy tool to help overcome these barriers.  Like fuel efficiency ratings on vehicles, transparent building energy ratings enable the market to assess energy performance and identify buildings where energy costs are lower, unlocking demand for efficient buildings.  Governments and utility companies can analyze ratings to create better public policies and incentives to improve building performance, and help measure progress toward efficiency goals.   The European Union, China, Australia and a number of US states and cities have enacted rating and disclosure policies.

Last month, for example, the city of San Francisco enacted a commercial rating and disclosure policy, one of nearly 20 such policies related to homes or commercial buildings that are now in place in the United States.  IMT staff updates BuildingRating.org weekly to reflect new policies, policy proposals and research from around the world.

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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