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Future of Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Drivers and Market Expectations 

06-17-2022 12:38

What will drive building investments in energy efficiency over the next 10 years? To find out, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers reviewed academic literature, analyzed recent state actions on demand-side management, and interviewed and surveyed experts throughout the country.

A slide-deck report, Future of Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Drivers and Market Expectations summarizes identified drivers and insights about likely future attributes of building efficiency markets. The report is geared toward policy makers, utility regulators, utilities, the energy efficiency industry, and other stakeholders.

Berkeley Lab researchers found that the most important drivers for efficiency investments in buildings are (1) public policies and regulations, particularly related to decarbonization, and (2) the cost of energy, relative to the cost of energy efficiency. Other important drivers are efficiency technologies, economic conditions, societal priorities, and business practices of utilities and other efficiency service providers. 

Among predictions in the report for the next 10 years: 

  • Some efficiency technologies like heat pumps and building shell measures, as well as technologies that support efficiency—for example, by providing data access and artificial intelligence—are primed for significant performance improvements. On the other hand, efficiency improvements will not advance as fast as historic rates for lighting and conventional heating systems.
  • Electric efficiency actions will become more focused on demand flexibility and energy use reductions during specific times through controls and integration with other distributed energy resources in grid-interactive efficient buildings and communities. 
  • Efficiency will be an important resource for meeting state decarbonization goals.
  • Marketing of efficient products and services will increasingly focus on grid services, decarbonization, integrating distributed energy resources, non-energy benefits for consumers, and Environmental, Social and Governance criteria for investors. 
  • Public investment in energy efficiency will increase in historically underserved, disadvantaged communities in recognition of its social, health, and safety benefits and to redress historical underserving of energy needs of these communities.
  • While state actions will vary, overall state and local governments will increase efficiency goals. Research findings point toward low-to-moderate national growth in efficiency-based energy savings. However, to the extent that public policy mandates ramp up requirements with respect to carbon reductions, researchers expect moderate to high growth in efficiency-based impacts.

View report and slide deck

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