What We Do
The Building Technologies Office (BTO) develops, demonstrates, and accelerates the adoption of cost-effective technologies, techniques, tools and services that enable high-performing, energy-efficient and demand-flexible residential and commercial buildings in both the new and existing buildings markets, in support of an equitable transition to a decarbonized energy system by 2050, starting with a decarbonized power sector by 2035.
How We Do It
The Building Technologies Office conducts work in three key areas to continually develop innovative, cost-effective, energy-saving solutions: research and development (R&D), market stimulation, and building codes and equipment standards. Learn more about how BTO carries out its mission.
Why It Matters
Energy efficiency is a low-cost way to save money, support job growth, reduce pollution, and improve the competitiveness of our businesses. Our homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and stores consume a lot of energy and money. We spend over $400 billion each year to power our homes and commercial buildings that consume 75% of all electricity used in the United States and 40% of the nation's total energy. And much of this energy and money is wasted—over 30% on average.
Saving You Money While Making You More Comfortable
Energy-saving improvements save money. While there may be additional upfront costs to improve an older home or building or build a new home or office to be highly efficient, these costs are recouped through lower energy bills.
Supporting the U.S. Economy
Energy efficiency supports nearly 2.4 million jobs across the country. As of 2019, the energy-efficiency sector continued to produce more new jobs (about 54,000) than any other energy sector. Around half of the nation's more than 123 million homes and 5.9 million commercial buildings were built before 1980, prior to the existence of today's efficient products and most equipment standards and building codes. These buildings represent a significant opportunity to unlock energy savings through efficiency improvements, and this means local jobs. Money saved on energy costs also flows to other sectors of the economy, which can lead to more job creation.
Improving Our Energy Security
Efficient buildings help us do more with less energy. This alleviates pressure on our electric grid, avoids new power plant construction, and extends our energy resources as we diversify to greater use of renewable, sustainable energy supplies. This helps to ensure we have available, reliable energy supplies well into the future.
Protecting the Environment
U.S. buildings account for 35% of the U.S. carbon dioxide emissions that drive the climate crisis. Many conventional refrigerants used HVAC systems like air conditioners are also potent climate pollutants themselves. Other emissions of pollutants like nitrogen and sulfur dioxide that stem primarily from the generation of electricity that buildings use also contribute to smog, acid rain, and haze. By improving the energy efficiency of America’s buildings and investing in the development of alternative lower-to-no-global-warming-potential pollutants, BTO plays a significant role in reducing pollution.