An environmental group released a new report Friday calling for more government investment in improving the energy efficiency of Ohio’s buildings, a move it said could save each Ohio family an average of $340 annually by 2030. 

Environment Ohio released the report, “Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency,” which finds that policies to improve building energy efficiencies could reduce the energy use of Ohio’s buildings 20 percent by 2030, prevent the emission of global warming pollution that would be the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off the road, and save on Ohioans’ energy bills. 

Environment Ohio said 40 percent of the energy used in the United States goes to heat, cool and power buildings, and that much of the energy comes from “dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power,” that leads to global warming. It said much of the energy is wasted because of leaky doors and windows. 

“It’s time to build better,” said Julian Boggs, Environment Ohio policy advocate. “Bold efficiency measures for buildings can cut energy use in our homes and businesses 20 percent by 2030, reducing pollution and saving consumers money.”

Among the government policies that could be adopted to promote efficiency, Environment Ohio’s report recommended: 

– “Adoption of strong building energy codes targeting reductions in energy use versus today’s average homes and commercial buildings. The codes should target 50 percent reductions by 2020 and 75 percent by 2030. We will also need strong commitments from cities and other stakeholders: a goal of achieving zero net energy buildings — buildings that produce as much energy as they consume — by 2030, and incentives to increase distributed renewable energy generation;

– “An aggressive program of energy efficiency retrofits sufficient to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent in households and 50 percent in commercial facilities by 2030, including financing programs like Property Assessed Clean Energy, on-bill financing, weatherization programs, utility-funded incentive programs and public private partnerships;

– “Adoption of strategies to increase transparency and develop consumer demand for energy-efficient apartments, homes and businesses, including energy use disclosure and incorporation of efficiency measures into the real estate appraisal process;

– “Adoption of strong energy efficiency standards for household appliances and commercial equipment used in buildings.”

The group said successful efficiency programs and incentives at the federal, state, and local level are already paying off, saving consumers money and dramatically reducing energy use.  

“There are already thousands of super-efficient buildings all around the country,” Boggs said. “Most buildings last for decades, so investing in energy efficiency locks in savings for years to come and builds a strong foundation for the future of our environment and our economy.”