Recent data reveal that in the US, buildings consume up to 40 % of the country’s total energy. Finding a way to boost up energy efficiency is now needed more than ever.
That means we need to reduce the emissions generated from cooling and heating and help save thousands of lives. And how can we do that?
A new and intriguing paper from Yale comes up with a plan.
Here is what you need to know.
Efficient Buildings: the Green Future is Approaching
A team of researchers led by Kenneth Gillingham, a Yale School of the Environment Economics Professor, unveils two building efficiency improvement plans and predicts how many lives in the US would be saved.
It sure looks like the most optimistic scenario, but the measurements and other data will really make you believe so.
Study insights and findings
The new plan envisions a 50 % growth in appliance efficiency (TVs, refrigerators to ovens) and a 60-90 % rise in the efficiency of buildings’ outer layers by 2050.
The researchers also estimated that about 5,100 premature deaths would be prevented if the efficient buildings plan would be developed.
“It is important to also consider the impacts on indoor air quality that may accompany changes in building ventilation,” explains Drew Genther, the study’s co-author and an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science.
How does an efficient building work?
According to researchers, when buildings are better sealed to prevent leakage of cooled or heated air, the circulation between indoor and outside air also lowers.
For instance, emissions from the appliances we use or the cooking can affect the indoor air quality inside a home. But, if we shut the building shell and don’t use some filtration and recirculation upgrades, we can really get sick and face severe health issues.
Finally, the researchers note that improved building efficiency would save about 3,600/ year under an optimistic scenario and 1,800 under an intermediate one.