Johnson Controls' Institute for Building Efficiency recently published the results of its fifth annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey. Each year, the survey asks those responsible for energy use and real estate decisions about items ranging from management practices and investment plans to technology integration strategies. This year's results indicate a growing urgency to make buildings more energy efficient.
Interestingly, what also stood out were the participants' reported barriers to pursuing energy efficiency investments, including a lack of awareness regarding energy-saving opportunities and projects' inability to meet financial payback criteria.
I believe the glass industry is prepared to meet the growing need for energy efficient improvements. That being said, how can organizations and others who have a stake in this industry—architects, engineers and glazing contractors, to name a few—overcome these perceived barriers to increase future investments in energy efficiency improvement projects?
First and foremost, our industry needs to increase awareness of how proven glazing technologies can transform the building envelope into a real energy-saving opportunity. Once viewed as an energy efficiency "weak link," the time has come for glazing to transition from being part of the problem to part of the solution. The bottom line? Glass should be viewed as a key tool for improving a building's energy efficiency, lowering its carbon footprint, and decreasing cooling and heating expenses by as much as 30 percent.
Simply put, high performance glazing makes buildings more efficient, but not enough people know it. By making awareness a priority, the glazing industry can knock down a key barrier to energy efficiency investments. The increased urgency to make buildings more efficient is certainly a step in the right direction toward a greener and more sustainable future. Here's hoping the results of next year's EEI survey indicate that an increased awareness of glazing solutions is helping to make this future a reality.
Bruce Lang is the vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Southwall Technologies, Palo Alto, Calif. He also is the president of Southwall Insulating Glass, LLC, a joint venture company established to manufacture energy-efficient insulating glass incorporating Southwall's Heat Mirror film technology. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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