Energy Efficiency Could Offset Virginia's Increasing Energy Costs

AN expected increase in demand for energy in the US state of Virginia during the next two decades could nearly be offset by energy efficiency technologies and practices, a new report claims.

Released by Duke University and Georgia Tech, the report examines the energy usage of 16 Southern states, focusing on residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

It found that Virginia's energy demand would increase 14 percent from 2010 to 2030. Most of the increase — 12 percent — could be negated through energy efficiency, said Etan Gumerman, senior policy associate at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

"There are gains across the board to be had everywhere," he said.

The report calls for tougher building codes, appliances that consume less energy and programs that spur property owners into retrofitting their buildings. It also recommends utility upgrades and other improvements at industrial complexes.

Such initiatives are usually led by the federal government, Gumerman said. For example, Hampton Roads last week received $3.2 million in Recovery Act funding to make homes and businesses more energy efficient. States and localities can make a difference, too, he said.

"There's definitely going to be some low-hanging fruit we can grab," he said.

Tuesday 27th April 2010

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