Commercial and residential buildings and facilities make up the number one source of carbon pollution through the energy they consume every day. Building emissions combined account for nearly 60% of total carbon emissions in Eagle County. The greatest impacts we can have on our emissions in this sector are through maximizing energy efficiency and reducing energy demand.
There is a significant opportunity to reduce residential energy use with increased energy efficiency and conservation efforts. The Colorado State Demographer reports that of Eagle County’s 31,675 housing units (this figure does not include commercial lodging properties), 38% were considered “vacant” or unoccupied in 2014 (second homeowners). Energy efficiency retrofits from local programs, such as Energy Smart Colorado, can reduce a home’s energy use by 20-30% and save residents hundreds of dollars on their annual energy bills.
In commercial buildings and facilities, a large amount of energy waste occurs due to inefficient buildings, high energy demands, deferred maintenance, inattention to building performance, and inefficient behavior on the part of occupants.
Given current advances in energy efficiency technology and financing programs, there can be up to 40-60% reduction in building-generated emissions (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, 2014). The commercial buildings that exist today will be inhabited into the foreseeable future; therefore, maximizing building efficiency will help ensure reduced energy demands well into the future.