By Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM

Adapted from a presentation at the Central Penn Business Journal’s Real Estate & Development Symposium

I was recently invited to speak about energy efficiency in buildings at the Central Penn Business Journal’s annual Real Estate & Development Symposium, which was held on September 3 at the Hershey Lodge (if you can attend a conference at a facility that specializes in chocolate, I highly recommend it!).

This year the event largely centered on short, information-packed sessions – roughly the length of a TED Talk, or even shorter.  My topic was energy efficiency in buildings, and the audience qualifier was that I’d be speaking to everyone from commercial real estate brokers to developers to bankers to contractors to designers.  In other words, I needed to have something for everyone!

I titled my presentation “The Energy Symphony” (you’ll soon figure out why), and primarily focused on existing buildings, as per the request of the event planners.  Beginning with this blog, and several that follow, I’ll share my presentation and give a few ideas for reducing energy efficiency.  Timothy Warren, PE, LEED AP, executive vice president of JDB Engineering, asked that I remind everybody in attendance that “energy efficiency does not mean going out and getting a new mechanical system!”  So with that in mind, here’s my presentation:


The first movement of our Energy Symphony is dark and scary, because building impacts on the environment are downright terrifying!

In the United States, 72% of electricity consumption – generated by power plants – is for buildings.

In terms of overall energy consumption, buildings still account for 40% of it.  And 48% of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.  So you can feel badly about driving your car to work, then feel badly about the building you are in!

Energy costs businesses in our country more than $200 billion annually.  And while that number seems staggering, consider that we waste 30% of that energy!  Scared yet?

In the posts that follow, I’ll cover a series of tips for reducing your building’s energy efficiency – primarily the low-to-mid hanging fruit, including a number of ideas that you can begin implementing today!

Next: The Future’s So Bright … I Gotta Wear Shades



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