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How green is your building?

[ 2009-09-04 13:16]     字号 [] [] []  
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CHICAGO: New York's Empire State Building is doing it, Chicago's Willis Tower is about to start and many more landlords and companies are expected to undertake building retrofits to reduce energy costs.

Spurred by steadily rising utility bills, the need to rein in costs in the recession, a host of government tax incentives and increasing awareness of carbon footprints, energy-saving building renovations are in vogue.

"Things are thriving," said Terry Singer, executive director of the National Association of Energy Service Companies. "There have been a lot of drivers to increased investment", among them new government funding, volatile energy prices and new technology that can reduce energy consumption.

Energy conservation is an unsung hero in the global effort to burn fewer fossil fuels and buildings account for roughly half of global energy consumption.

Several successive US presidents have championed conservation which is at the center of the Obama administration's proposals to combat climate change.

The energy services industry has grown by at least 22 percent a year since 2004. Additionally, billions of dollars were allocated in the federal stimulus package to retrofit and weatherize government buildings.

"There's this huge untapped potential," said Maria Vargas, a spokeswoman for the US Environmental Protection Agency's decade-old "Energy Star" program. The agency had put its energy-efficient tag on 6,300 US buildings by the end of 2008, which was 57 percent more than a year earlier.

"More will start doing it, as they realize their competitors are doing it and they realize it makes good business sense," said Branko Terzic of consultant Deloitte's Energy & Resources Group.

The energy services industry, which has a myriad of large and small players, is expected to triple in size by 2013 and there is a reservoir of untapped projects valued by a Pike Research report at $400 billion, he said.

The number of "green" jobs is growing, with the sector one of the few to add positions during the recession, said employment expert John Challenger.

The Empire State Building undertook a renovation designed to save $4.4 million, or 38 percent, on its yearly energy bill. Those savings will repay the cost within a few years.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

How green is your building?

How green is your building?Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op'Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily's Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.