We lead a vast network of research and industry partners to continually develop innovative, cost-effective energy saving solutions—better products, better new homes, better ways to improve older homes, and better buildings in which we work, shop, and lead our everyday lives.
What We Do
The Building Technologies Office's Multi-Year Program Plan for Fiscal Years 2016-2020 provides a roadmap of our strategies and goals for significantly reducing building energy use intensity.
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 more than $400 billion each year to power our homes and commercial buildings, consuming approximately 74% of all electricity used in the United States, about 40% of our nation's total energy bill. And much of this energy and money is wasted—over 30% on average. If we cut the energy use of U.S. buildings by 20%, we could save approximately $80 billion annually on energy bills and help create jobs.
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. On average, families spend about $2,000 per year on energy for their homes—each family could save about $400 each year with energy-saving upgrades.
Supporting the U.S. Economy
Energy efficiency supports more than 2.2 million jobs across the country, adding more than 130,000 jobs in 2016 alone. Many of the nation's more than 118 million homes and 5.6 million commercial buildings were constructed 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 nearly 40% of the nation's man-made carbon dioxide emissions, 18% of the nitrogen oxide emissions, and 55% of the sulfur dioxide emissions. These emissions—primarily from electricity generation—in turn contribute to smog, acid rain, haze, and global climate change. Improving the efficiency of the nation's buildings can play a significant role in reducing pollution.