Opinion: Changing how buildings use energy can help combat climate change

September 30, 2022 – Shifting buildings away from using dirty fossil fuels and toward using electricity for heating and cooling will be a crucial part of combatting climate change. But decarbonizing buildings would require a whopping increase in demand for renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.

Using energy-efficient technology could be the answer, according to a September 26 opinion piece in the Washington Post.

The co-authors—Joseph Allen, associate professor of exposure assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Parichehr Salimifard of Oregon State University, and Jonathan Buonocore of Boston University School of Public Health—wrote that using energy-efficient technology would be “a powerful way for buildings to reduce energy needs especially during peak demand times.”

The article offered several examples of technology that could help reduce energy use. For instance, air quality sensors could be used in buildings to deliver air only when where it’s needed, rather than into empty conference rooms. Networked ground-source heat pumps could connect neighborhoods to energy-efficient geothermal energy.

“The technology we need is already available to us,” the authors wrote. “We just need to use it.”

Read the Washington Post article here: Want to phase out fossil fuels? We must fundamentally change our buildings

For stories of climate hope and action, subscribe to The Climate Optimist newsletter.