Why isn’t there a Building Efficiency Trade Association

Is it time for a real trade association for the Building Efficiency industry?

I was thinking about this today. I have seen one that really does the job. For those of you that have been a part of the efficiency industry for a long time, you know that it is like a greyhound race. Companies running as fast as they can to realize the dream only to come up short on actually catching the rabbit. Energy Efficiency in the US alone is estimated to have $440B of potential by LBNL and over $3 Trillion when calculating the ultimate economic potential by 2030. As the costs of new electricity, water, and natural gas capacity continues to rise, saving electricity, water, and natural gas becomes a far more cost-effective option – important during a recession. The challenge is that from energy efficiency financing to building codes – there is no coherent industry voice.

That’s why we need a real trade organization. Yes, there’s the Alliance to Save Energy; American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy; US Green Building Council and many others. And, yes, these organizations have worked on standards, financing, and regulations that would help the industry.

All that’s well and good, but we need an organization willing to do the hard work in the industry to establish and prioritize efforts to tackle the biggest obstacles to our growth. This is not easily done by a non-profit – we need a trade association. Currently, there is no widely recognized leader for energy efficiency financing, standards, and other issues. Leaving this to non-profits will leave us in the slow lane. A pathway for incremental change and more stop/start efforts.

An industry-wide trade association dedicated to energy efficiency financing, building codes, and other important areas make sense.

Jigar Shah, CEO Carbon War Room, Founder of SunEdison