By: Lance Brown

According to a Green Economy survey by GreenBiz following the November elections, most businesses do not foresee significant slowdowns in their sustainability strategies. Of the companies surveyed, 60% said that the changes in Congress and the White House would have no impact on their strategy, whereas 34% anticipated a slowdown.

Although the survey did not point to reasons for this confidence, there are several factors favoring the march toward sustainability that transcend federal politics. To name a few: (1) the overwhelming cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency enhancements, (2) the persistently low cost of natural gas as a result of the fracking boom, (3) a precipitous drop in the cost of photovoltaic panels, (4) state governments, including Massachusetts, that have progressive energy policy that will likely be unaffected by changes in federal policy, and (5) consumers who reward companies’ steps toward sustainability by purchasing their products and services.

Real estate departments for major corporations are still showing strong interest in adding zero net energy (ZNE) buildings to their portfolios, according to a report from CoreNet Global. This is despite uncertainty at the federal level and despite today’s relatively low energy costs. ZNE projects are on the rise in large part due to the decline in the cost of solar, but efficient building systems are also necessary for a cost-effective ZNE project, as we learned at the October ASHRAE Boston meeting.

This month’s joint ASHRAE-AEE meeting will touch on some of the factors driving the use of distributed electricity generation, including building-scale solar projects.

Lance Brown /Sustainability Chair 2017-2018

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