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Even Older Buildings Are More Energy Efficient Than Ever

An analysis of trends in energy-efficiency improvements reveals the success of policies enacted during the previous decades.
August 10, 2017, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Adha Ghazali

"Compared to 2009, single-family homes built before 1980 are now better insulated, have relatively newer heating equipment, and are more likely to have undergone an energy audit," according to an article by Elizabeth La Jeunesse.

"Homeowners' annual spending for related projects—including roofing, siding, windows/doors, insulation and HVAC—expanded from $50 billion to nearly $70 billion over 2009-2015," adds La Jeunesse.

La Jeunesse is sharing the results of Harvard Center for Joint Housing Studies analysis of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The article credits the improvement of energy efficiency in the nation's older housing stock to incentives put in place when energy prices spike in the mid-2000s. At the federal level, La Jeunesse, credits the Obama Administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, "which extended and strengthened tax credits for energy improvements to existing homes, including insulation, windows, roofs, water heaters, furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, and central air conditioners."

Energy prices have dropped enough since then, however, that the article includes a warning about a relative lack of incentives for energy-efficiency improvements.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, August 7, 2017 in Harvard Center for Joint Housing Studies
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