Energy


Building Technologies

Technical Applications

Summary

Energy efficient building technologies comprise a wide range of components, systems and appliances, primarily for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.

Characteristics

These technologies improve the competitiveness of the U.S. construction and building industries in world markets by putting them in a more favorable position for selling turn-key installations overseas. In addition to making a direct contribution, advanced building technologies also contribute to productivity and job growth indirectly by improving efficiency of the physical infrastructure for all manufacturing and services.

ImpactEconomy

These technologies significantly affect five out of the six largest sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, services, and finance and real estate. Residential and commercial buildings consume over one third of all U.S. primary energy and about two thirds of the electricity generated. By allowing more efficient energy utilization, advanced building technologies directly contribute to job creation and economic growth for manufacturers of the equipment involved, as well in the building and construction industries. A reduction in the cost of providing goods and services which results from more efficient energy utilization allows U.S. companies to be more competitive on world markets.

WorldView

Foreign firms took the lead from U.S. manufacturers of heating, cooling, air handling, and controls technologies in commercial buildings over a decade ago. Since then, U.S. firms have slowly regained part of their reputation and technological position and are now at parity with the European leaders. Europe remains ahead in ventilation and pulse combustion furnaces. The Germans, for example, have developed an innovative, gas-fired heater that rapidly heats small amounts of water--a concept applicable to small apartment furnaces, water heaters, and integrated appliances. Both Japanese and European firms have surpassed the United States in the efficiency of their gas-fired furnaces with some units achieving efficiencies as high as 97 percent.