We spend the vast majority of our lives inside buildings and they have an outsized impact on our health and financial wellbeing.
LOCK IN ENERGY SAVINGS AND PUBLIC HEALTH BENEFITS FOR YEARS TO COME
Conservatively, a building’s lifetime is roughly 60 years, and the lifetime of equipment can be 20-30 years or more. Building owners who have adopted energy efficiency strategies have shown that greater energy efficiency is profitable, achieves lower total cost of building ownership, improved indoor air quality and comfort, and greater resilience to a changing climate. Building in energy efficiency from the start is a lucrative investment and more cost effective than having to make expensive retrofits later.
CREATE AND SUSTAIN HIGH QUALITY JOBS
Of all investments in climate mitigation, building energy efficiency creates the most jobs. In Connecticut, eight out of ten clean energy jobs are in energy efficiency, and we need many more to keep up with current demand and scale-up. As demonstrated in the Efficiency for All’s Connecticut Workforce Program, there is an opportunity to lift thousands out of poverty by successfully training those from environmental justice communities.
LOWER ENERGY BILLS AND EASE THE STATE'S HIGH ENERGY BURDEN
Improving building energy efficiency in existing and new construction is critical to ensure an energy-affordable Connecticut. Currently, Connecticut’s energy costs are the highest in the nation, partially due to our aging and inefficient building stock. These high costs translate to a respectively high energy burden for our low income residents. We applaud the Legislature’s passage of SB 356 that creates a program to fund affordable housing energy efficiency retrofits and remediate health and safety barriers. Let’s use the bipartisan momentum on that bill to move forward with further action in the building sector.
REDUCE ADVERSE HEALTH IMPACTS FELT DISPROPORTIONATELY BY DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES
Connecticut residents spend most of their lives within buildings, and indoor air can be significantly more polluted than outdoor air. In Connecticut, a recent study estimated that burning fossil fuels in buildings led to 318 additional deaths and $3.567 billion in health impact costs in 2017. One study showed that children living in homes with gas stovetops are 42 percent more likely to develop asthma than in homes without, and asthma rates in the state of Connecticut are currently higher than the national average. In addition to reducing indoor air pollution, energy-efficient buildings also offer improved occupant comfort through greater insulation, filtered fresh air ventilation, and tighter envelope assemblies.
SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
The building sector contributes about 46.8% of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emissions, far surpassing the 37.4% attributed to transportation. Many assert that transportation is the most significant contributor. However, the confusion has to do with how the information is presented in the inventory. Transportation is a giant slice of the pie, but building emissions are distributed in the residential, commercial, industrial, and electrical sectors.
SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND REDUCE BRAIN DRAIN
Climate action spurs economic development and attracts and retains talent. Connecticut is currently experiencing a brain drain due to climate inaction. The Connecticut Green Building Council sees firsthand that talented professionals and climate-conscious developers are moving to neighboring states that have adopted more progressive climate policies, and the majority of the work for sustainability consultants located in Connecticut comes from out-of-state.
UTILIZE FEDERAL FUNDING
Connecticut must take advantage of federal funding to increase the quality of our building stock, improve energy affordability, and reduce public health impacts. The bipartisan infrastructure deal and the inflation reduction act includes hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to help states to increase building efficiency, electrify, implement updated building energy codes, and workforce training.