The National Governors Association (NGA) announced Monday that six states have been chosen to develop comprehensive action plans to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin will participate in the Policy Academy on State Building Efficiency Retrofit Programs, led by the NGA Center for Best Practices
Buildings consume more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy and account for the majority of the nation's electricity consumption. Current efforts at cost-effective energy upgrades touch a very small portion of buildings every year. The Policy Academy will help participating states develop and refine a number of policy options including: innovative funding and financing mechanisms; building energy use benchmarking tools; targeted education and outreach measures; and workforce training programs. These measures will be used to help states design larger-scale building retrofit programs that lead to lower energy use, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of new green jobs.
"Most energy efficiency efforts have focused on new construction or the low-income sector only, often ignoring the substantial energy savings available by retrofitting existing buildings," said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. "This Policy Academy will help states realize energy savings across the board, through comprehensive building retrofits programs."
Building retrofit programs may include measures like air sealing; insulation; upgrading or replacing heating or hot water systems; lighting upgrades; window replacement; appliance replacement with ENERGY STAR products; solar thermal hot water; and energy management system installation.
A Policy Academy is an interactive team-based process for helping a select number of states develop and implement an action plan to address a complex public policy issue. Participating states receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA Center staff and faculty experts and consultants from the private sector, research organizations, academia and the federal government.
The Policy Academy is being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, which has responsibility for $11 billion in funding under the Recovery Act to retrofit and weatherize buildings, along with additional funding to deploy other efficiency and renewable technologies.