In the United States, buildings use 70 percent of all electricity and account for 40 percent of all carbon emissions. At least half that energy is wasted due to inefficiencies in the ways those buildings are designed, built and operated.
We can dramatically cut society’s total carbon emissions simply by making our buildings more comfortable, cost-effective and efficient. Yet, despite decades of rhetorical commitment, energy efficiency programs have failed to achieve dramatic improvements.
Seattle has pioneered a new approach, known as the Metered Energy Efficiency Transaction Structure (MEETS). MEETS aligns the interests of all parties – building owners, utilities, ratepayers, tenants, and investors – by turning buildings into revenue generating “energy efficiency power plants.” It is the only energy efficiency program yet proposed in which all parties are better off than they were before.
In collaboration with Rob Harmon of the MEETS Accelerator Coalition, Denis Hayes and Brad Kahn developed a white paper about MEETS and the potential to drive deep energy efficiency into commercial buildings.