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Investing in energy efficient buildings now will lead to as much as $1.2 trillion in savings by 2020, according to a new study from McKinsey & Co. In its new report, “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy,” the global management consulting firm forecasted just how valuable aggressive green construction could prove to be for the United States.
McKinsey predicts 900,000 new jobs could be created and 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse gas could be reduced annually, if about $50 billion a year was invested in a comprehensive green building strategy during the next decade. This reduction would represent a 23 percent drop in energy consumption compared with current levels.
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which was one of 12 sponsoring organizations of the McKinsey report, embraced the findings as an endorsement of sustainable design and construction as a means for improving the economy and environment. “Green building can stimulate the economy at a level one and a half times larger than the federal stimulus bill,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the Washington-based USGBC. “In terms of climate change, a commitment to energy efficiency would be the equivalent to taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger cars and light trucks, more than 200 million vehicles, off the road.”
The report looks at the impact across three sectors of the U.S. economy, with a 40 percent savings possible in the industrial sector, 35 percent in residential and 25 percent in commercial.
The Environmental Protection Agency also voiced its support of the study’s findings. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson noted, “The McKinsey report reveals new possibilities for energy efficiency, and will be instrumental in engaging consumers, businesses and everyone else to cut energy consumption, reduce harmful emissions and save money on electricity.”