U.S. Can Look to Europe, Australia for Environmental Lessons

The United States can learn a few lessons in energy-efficient buildings and green jobs from Europe and Australia, according to a new study by the Rand Corporation. The research shows that steps taken by the two continents to inspect, rate, and publicly disclose the energy efficiency of buildings indicate the structures use less energy and are worth more when sold or leased.

The United States can learn a few lessons in energy-efficient buildings and green jobs from Europe and Australia, according to a new study by the Rand Corporation. The research shows that steps taken by the two continents to inspect, rate, and publicly disclose the energy efficiency of buildings indicate the structures use less energy and are worth more when sold or leased.

“Investments in renovation and energy-aware construction should be part of a green jobs strategy,” says Charles Ries, the report’s lead author and senior fellow at Rand, a nonprofit research organization. “If the United States wants to be a global competitor in green building technology, it can learn from the ways in which information disclosure, building codes, financial incentives, and benchmarking have been used in Europe and Australia.”

For example, the European Union now requires all member nations to have energy-efficiency elements in building codes, which must be reviewed every five years. In 2002, the EU began requiring energy performance certificates be presented for all building sales or rentals. Some Australian states also require energy-efficiency certificates. The ratings may be based on a building’s design characteristics, energy performance, or both.

To see more results from the study, “Improving the Energy Performance of Buildings: Learning from the European Union and Australia,” visit www.rand.org.