Energy Efficiency - Buildings

Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming. Before adding the photovoltaic (PV) system to generate clean renewable electricity, it is advisable to implement as many energy efficiency measures as possible. Energy efficiency can be as small as changing an incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent or as large as designing and constructing a highly energy efficient green community that combines energy efficient green buildings with transportation alternatives that include walking, biking and public transit to minimize energy consumption at all levels.

Nationally, buildings are estimated to contribute 40 percent to 50 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. By building green buildings that conserve energy, we have the opportunity to mitigate climate change while reducing utility bills and creating more healthy and comfortable environments in which to live and work.

For more information on green building:

The adoption and enforcement of new energy codes improves the energy efficiency of all new construction over the life of the buildings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) website, “The efforts have improved the energy efficiency of nearly 3 billion square feet of new commercial floor space and nearly 4 million new households” and are saving “nearly $1 billion per year.”

The New Mexico Construction Industries Commission (CIC) is responsible for New Mexico’s state-wide building codes. On January 14, 2011, the New Mexico Energy Conservation Code (NMECC) 2009 went into effect with a six-month grace period to use either the new code or NMECC 2006. Code compliance can be demonstrated in one of three ways: 1) follow all the prescriptive and mandatory requirements in the NMECC 2009 code book; 2) use computer software, such as REScheck, REM/Rate, or COMcheck, or trade-off worksheets from the Residential Applications Manual; or 3) demonstrate achievement of equivalent energy reduction to NMECC 2009 through computer energy modeling.

William Faulkner Studios, used by permission

ECMD works with the New Mexico Construction Industries Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department and a diverse stakeholder community to continue improving the building codes, thereby increasing energy efficiency for all new construction in New Mexico.

At the federal level, the DOE implements a number of energy efficiency programs in New Mexico. These include the Federal Energy Management Program, targeted at achieving energy savings in federal buildings; and the Building America Program, which works directly with contractors to improve residential construction techniques to save energy.

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ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

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