Role of government, regulations, policies and incentives

The government and its role in energy efficiency can play a pivotal role in an organization’s plans. Examples of things to look for and questions to ask include:

Building codes

  • Is there a requirement that all new buildings and those being renovated are covered by energy codes and meet minimum energy performance standards?
  • What (if any) are the government policies to improve the energy efficiency performance of critical building components, such as windows and Heating, Ventilating and Cooling (HVAC) systems?

Building energy measurement and labeling

  • Does a mandatory Energy-Use Disclosure law exist or will it in the near future? If so, what are the descriptors and boundary conditions?
  • What kind of government assistance in relation to energy audits, energy ratings and certification schemes are available?
  • Does the government have a policy of “building energy labels or certificates” similar to that found in appliances – such as an “Energy Star” for Buildings?
  • What international test standards and measurement protocols to enable performance comparisons and benchmarking exist in the market?

Subsidies and price signals

  • What government support or incentives exist for “net-zero” or “low energy” consumption buildings? Do these initiatives make the building more economically viable?
  • Is there an existing or planned Carbon Emission Tax scheme? If so, what are its requirements and scope?
  • Are tax credits, incentives, rebates and low interest financing available for energy efficiency improvement projects

Training and skills

  • Is there government assisted or subsidized training and other measures available for building designers, owners and others to improve the quality and reliability of building design and operation, including retrofit services?

Technologies

  • What energy efficient technologies are being recommended or subsidized?

It is important to know what is current, what is imminent and what might emerge in the next three-five years, and to review the information frequently to keep up to date.