ACEEE Report: Cities, States Must Mandate Building Retrofits to Meet Climate Crisis July 13 2020
On June 22, 2020, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a white paper, Mandatory Building Performance Standards: A Key Policy for Achieving Climate Goals.
In its press release, it says, "Retrofitting buildings to reduce their energy use is one of the most powerful tools to reduce carbon emissions, yet at current rates, most offices and homes will not be retrofitted for decades or even centuries..."
Here is a quote from the report's Introduction:
Programs to encourage energy efficiency whole-building retrofits to existing buildings have operated for decades, and even the best programs rarely result in the upgrade of more than 1–2% of eligible buildings annually (York, Nowak, and Molina 2015). New and more-aggressive approaches are needed.Later, on page 2, it says: "As a crude estimate, if Home Performance and WAP [low-income Weatherization Assistance Program] represent half of U.S. annual retrofits, then it would take more than 500 years to retrofit the current stock of U.S. homes."
One such approach is mandatory building performance standards—requiring existing buildings to meet some performance benchmark (energy or carbon intensity, performance rating, and so on), with owners having multiple years to bring buildings into compliance.