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US could save $1.2trillion by going green

Investing in the energy efficiency of buildings could save the US economy $1.2trillion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 gigatons annually, according to a study released by management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

The firm's Energy Practice and Climate Change Special Initiative has been developed to create new thinking on the economics and business implications of the relationships between changing energy and climate dynamics. Their latest study provides a detailed assessment of how much the nation can increase energy efficiency in buildings and other non-transportation sectors using existing methods and technologies initiatives with a projected outcome of a 23 percent reduction in green house gas emissions by 2020.

USGBC President and Founding Chairman, Rick Fedrizzi said of the report: “This confirms a critical path forward that we have long championed. Harnessing the engine of green, energy efficient buildings can cost-effectively drive tremendous improvements in our economy and environment.

“Green building can stimulate the economy at a level one and a half times larger than the federal stimulus bill. 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.”

A targeted investment of $50 billion a year over 10 years, the report finds, would enable the entirety of those potential savings to be realized. Those reductions in energy use would save the U.S. economy $1.2 trillion, a return on investment of more than two to one. Furthermore, those investments would generate 900,000 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.1 gigatons, according to the report, “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy,” which was sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council and 11 other organizations from the government, non-governmental, and private sectors.

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