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RESTalk 28: A National Retrofit Challenge to Meet the Paris Goal

Jul 10, 2019

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” – Jonathan Swift

Efficiency is invisible, yet energy efficiency represents the largest, cheapest and healthiest means of reducing the global temperature increase. Achieving good energy efficiency also results in better occupant comfort, health, and productivity as well as creating jobs and equity.

The United States is one of 190 nations that is committed to pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Even back-of-the-envelope analysis shows that this goal will be impossible to achieve without deep retrofits of almost all buildings. In this podcast, David Goldstein, Energy Co-Director, Climate & Energy Program at the National Resources Defense Council explores how this might be accomplished, reviewing several options, given that such a program has never been undertaken at this scale before and inherently requires multiple and simultaneous plans and actions by a wide range of stakeholders.

David notes the need to take a “whole building” approach to retrofits rather than more common approaches today which emphasize specific widgets or systems. He also emphasizes the need for new methods of approaching building valuation since energy cost savings alone often will not cover the entire cost of renovations. We discuss the need for technical innovation in building construction methods and for electric technologies for supplying heat and hot water to buildings. Finally, we consider the impact of deep retrofits on all buildings on the electricity grid as well as the natural gas system.

Click here to listen to this latest episode.

LInk to a copy of David’s slides on this topic from a presentation he gave at the 2019 RESNET conference here