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PSU Leading Global Building Energy Transformation Effort (Ind. Report)
UN, Penn State University
Date: 2018-03-05
In University Park, Penn State University (PSU) reports it has been selected by the United Nations to lead an effort to develop a global energy efficiency standard framework for both new building constructions and building retrofits. Penn State will help provide research and education to support those standards through an interdisciplinary approach.

According to the Penn State project leader Tom Ricard, the building sector is about one-third of the global economy and involves everyone from building code officers to mortgage finance bankers and electricians and carpenters to architects and engineers. Buildings account for about 40 pct of humanity's carbon footprint, he said. "We have technologies today to drive those carbon emissions to near zero and create net zero energy buildings with fairly cost-effective technologies, but there's a number of barriers to that. Those include the way buildings are built and financed; the way people involved in the building sector traditionally interact and the kind of contractual relationships they have; and the technologies are new and haven't been proven in all parts of the world," Richard added.

The big question, according to James Freihaut, the technical director of Penn State at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia and a professor architectural engineering, is how do you get a serially fragmented industry -- where each entity is trying to maximize its own individual profit while minimizing its performance risk relative to the building -- to behave like a virtually, vertically integrated industry that can actually deliver known, measured system performance in a building?

One is that the cost differential isn't that great anymore, Richard said, and the second is that these buildings are high-performance, not just with respect to energy, but to human performance, including health and worker satisfaction and performance. (Source: Penn State, Center Daily Times, 2 Mar., 2018) Contact: Penn State Univ., Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Tom Richard, Dir., (814) 865-3722, tlr20@psu.edu; Institutes of Energy and the Environment, (814) 863-0291, www.iee.psu.edu

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