Energy costs are among the top business expense line items, and some companies are turning that to their advantage.
Smart buildings could be the next big software and networking play with venture capitalists showing strong interest in the sector. Innovations are revolutionizing energy use, to ultimately combat global warming.
An estimated 35% of U.S. electricity is used in commercial buildings and another 29% in industry. Businesses spend $135 billion a year on energy, and as much as half of that is wasted. Commercial buildings create 278 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.
That is changing. Some high-performance buildings are generating their own renewable energy and selling excess kilowatts back to the utility. Advanced lighting systems harvest daylight, while new solar technologies can make the whole building produce power. Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development (LEED), the green building rating system, is helping to boost property values and lower vacancy rates.
Big buildings have big appetites for energy, with massive potential to conserve it -- and even to produce their own renewable energy. Super-efficient buildings can cut costs and carbon, generating generous goodwill -- but can owners justify the price?
MIT Enterprise Forum Northwest will host a program in Bellevue on November 8, 2006 to explore recent developments and incentives for super-efficient commercial buildings. The Enterprise Forum is an outreach of MIT, which recently has launched major initiatives in energy research.