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Greater adoption of existing efficiency technologies, enabled by chemistry,
could lower energy use in buildings by 41 percent by 2050, according to new report
WASHINGTON (December 6, 2012) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) today touted projections in a new report by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) showing that combining building efficiency improvements—made possible by innovations in chemistry—with lower-carbon fuels could lead to a 41 percent reduction in energy use and a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Of all the energy used in the United States, nearly one-third is consumed by the building sector. Improving efficiency is critical, and during the next few decades the amount of energy used by the building sector will increase dramatically (more than 62 percent by 2050), as will the amount of CO2 emissions (more than 87 percent by 2050), according to the ICCA report.
“The ICCA projections reinforce what we have known for a long time—that the chemical industry is an indispensable provider of solutions that improve the energy efficiency of buildings,” said Cal Dooley, president and CEO of ACC. “Nearly every energy-efficient technology is dependent on innovations made possible by chemistry. Our products make the nation’s energy supplies go further while lowering energy costs for businesses and families.”
The ICCA Building Technology Roadmap, which will be officially released this week at the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar, examined the chemical industry’s contributions to energy efficiency and greenhouse gas savings in residential and commercial construction. The report focused on the potential savings from five chemically derived building technologies that are commercially available today: insulation, pipe and pipe insulation, air sealing, reflective roof coatings and pigments, and windows.
According to the ICCA report, energy-saving products installed in homes in the United States prevented nearly 283 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2010—equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 50 million passenger vehicles. Studies show that if this trend continues, more than seven billion tons of emissions can be avoided by 2050 in the United States alone—equivalent to the CO2 emissions of more than 1.2 billion passenger vehicles.
Averaging at least 75 percent of the heat loss in households, single-family homes provide most of the potential for energy savings within the residential sector. In 2010, the cumulative energy savings from chemically derived building products in U.S. residential buildings was 46 times greater than the energy required to produce the products.
Chemistry and Energy-Efficient Buildings
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is vital for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the world. Watch the video below to learn how products that depend on chemistry such as insulation, reflective roof coatings and pigments, and windows help increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions in the buildings sector.
Learn more about energy efficiency.