MIT Energy Initiative

Opportunities, Challenges for Energy Efficiency

Event tackles needed actions to move energy efficiency forward in commercial buildings

Vicki Ekstrom May 20, 2014 MITEI

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) held its annual Associate Member Symposium on May 12th. The event, sponsored this year by MITEI members Cummins, Hess, Entergy and EDF, focused on “Large Opportunities, Complex Challenges: Seizing the Energy Efficiency Opportunity in the Commercial Buildings Sector.” It brought together academics, policy makers, and representatives from industry and non-governmental organizations to discuss the challenges and opportunities of achieving energy-efficient buildings.

“The inability to massively improve the efficiency of energy use in our economy and our homes is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the last half-century of U.S. energy policy and markets,” Emeritus Institute Professor of Chemistry John Deutch said, pointing to market failures, behavioral anomalies, and hidden costs that can create a gap between expectations and behavior. “But if we have any chance of meeting reduced greenhouse gas emissions, it is necessary to improve energy efficiency in the commercial built environment.”

Realizing the urgency and immense savings that could result from improved energy efficiency, the symposium participants raised four key points meant to guide decision makers.

“This exciting and stimulating conference raised important points about the inability to realize the potentials of energy efficiency – something that has frustrated analysts and policy makers for over three decades,” Deutch said. “If we do nothing else, we must do a better job communicating with the public about the simple set of actions they can take, and why these actions will benefit them in the long run.”

A report summarizing the discussion will follow.

View more on the annual MITEI Associate Member Symposium.

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