Using Clean Energy in Commercial Buildings
Paving the Way to a Clean Energy Future
Experts agree that we need to transition to a clean energy economy, starting today, to avert the catastrophic impacts of climate change. A clean energy economy is one powered by electricity sourced from renewable, zero-carbon emission sources, coupled with energy-efficient buildings and industrial plants. For buildings and plants, this means redoubling efforts to eliminate energy waste and finding opportunities to electrify space heating, water heating, cooking, and other essential building functions that typically rely on fossil fuels.
Why You Should Lead With Energy Efficiency
Why is energy efficiency so important in the era of clean energy? Simply put, energy efficiency is energy we don’t use, and will make the transition to a clean, renewable energy infrastructure easier. By keeping the demand for energy in check, efficiency gives us the chance to produce enough clean energy to drastically reduce carbon emissions. And for building owners, efficiency is often the lowest-cost form of clean energy and the best first step to zero carbon.
Consider Beneficial Electrification
To meet decarbonization goals, commercial buildings are evolving towards beneficial electrification: the process of replacing fossil fuel-powered furnaces, boilers, and water heaters with efficient technologies such as electric heat pumps. These electric alternatives can be paired with renewable energy sources to drastically reduce a building’s carbon footprint. More and more jurisdictions are considering electrification in energy codes as a key tool to meet climate targets. Building owners and developers should consider all-electric options in retrofit projects or in their designs for new construction projects so they’ll be set up for the future.
Consider Renewable Energy
Buildings owners can take positive steps to accelerate the transition to a clean energy grid. Install on-site renewable systems like rooftop solar panels or wind turbines where it makes sense, and consider other procurement options such as renewable energy certificates, utility green power products, and community choice aggregation.
EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program
EPA’s Green Power Partnership (GPP) is working to build the American green power industry. GPP is a free program that works with more than a thousand partners who are voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Through the program, EPA offers expertise, resources, and recognition for organizations that employ clean power.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
Explore energy-efficiency policies and incentives by state.
- Study: Bottom-up estimates of deep decarbonization of U.S. manufacturing in 2050