The Future of HVAC Energy Consumption in the United States
1.0 Introduction 
In 2001, building heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems accounted for
approximately 30% of total energy consumption in the United States. This is greater than
transportation, which accounted for approximately 28% of total energy consumption. However,
the energy consumed by HVAC systems is less evident and distributed across residential,
commercial and industrial sectors. HVAC systems, in particular cooling, are one of the fastest
growing energy consumers in the United States. This trend started in the 1970s, and continues
today. However, much of this growth has been offset by gains in efficiency. There is still much
room for improvement in the efficiency of such systems with technology that already exists. The
key to the institution of such technology is education of consumers. In this report I explore some
of the public and private organizations advocating greater efficiency in HVAC systems. I
analyze each organizations approach and effectiveness. I conclude by discussing how these
organizations and other approaches can work to educate consumers and institute more efficient
2.1 Federal: Rebuild America Program 
The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsors the Rebuild America Program. The program
consists of system of public and private partnerships who’s goal is to institute energy efficient
improvements in local communities. Rebuild America is a forum - for architects, facility
planners, engineers, builders, community leaders, educators, municipal authorities, technology
developers, manufacturers, energy service providers, financing experts, State energy programs
and others for sharing experience and practices across projects and programs. It is a working
model for leveraging taxpayer dollars with private investment to produce huge energy cost
savings. Two main goals of Rebuild America are to achieve energy cost savings and stimulate
capital investment in energy efficient upgrades. The DOE’s investment of $51.5 million from
1995 through 2001 produced the following results :
$120 million in annual energy cost savings.
$540 million in capital investment.
Cumulative cost savings totaling $264 million - enough energy savings to power 200,000
U.S. homes for a year, or 25 office buildings the size of the Pentagon.
Over 400 million square feet of renovated building space - an area equivalent to 7,280
football fields or 186 Empire State Buildings.
An additional 420 million square feet in projects committed or underway that will result
in $660 million in new capital investment and $145 million in annual savings.
Over 450 community partnerships in 54 states and territories.
More than 1,000 schools influenced by energy efficiency.
Rebuild America is helping the Department of Energy to institute research technologies for
advanced energy efficiency and clean power technologies and practices. Benefits include a
stronger economy, healthier environment, and more secure future.
2.2 State: Colorado Energy Sciences Center 
The Colorado Energy Science Center (CESC), based in Golden, CO, is funded by the State of
Colorado and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). The mission of CESC it to increase
the understanding and appreciation of energy science and technology in order to enable decision-
makers to adopt energy practices that produce economic benefits, reduce environmental impacts
and increase the sustainability of energy supply . The main strategy of the CESC revolves
around educating the public on energy efficient alternatives. This strategy has been taken
because consumers determine their energy consumption and CESC believes that educated
consumers will make more energy efficient choices. Some of the programs that CESC is
currently involved in include:
K-12 Home Energy Investigation Contest
College Research Projects
Employer Based Assistance for Home Energy Efficiency
2.3 Local: City of Aspen Colorado
In 2000, Aspen, CO instituted a Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP) that requires
"excessive energy consumers" to offset a portion of their fossil fuel energy consumption through
the use of on-site renewable energy sources. In most cases this entails the use of geothermal or
solar energy resources. The criteria for excessive energy consumers are based on home square
footage and overall energy consumption. There is also a fee payment option for home owners
that do not wish to install renewable energy systems. This fee is then used to subsidize
renewable energy systems in other parts of the city. The majority of the funds are used for
upgrades of municipal buildings but some have gone to subsidize systems in affordable housing
3.1 American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy 
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is a non-profit organization
who’s goal is to advance energy efficiency to promote economic prosperity and environmental
protection. ACEEE achieves this goal through the following:
Conducting in-depth technical and policy assessments
Advising policymakers and program managers
Working collaboratively with businesses, public interest groups, and other organizations
Organizing conferences and workshops
Publishing books, conference proceedings, and reports
Educating consumers and businesses
3.2 Colorado Business Energy Partnership
The Colorado Business Energy Partnership (CBEP) is an association of public and private
partners who are committed to reducing carbon emission through instituting energy efficient
infrastructure. CBEP partners recognize that greater energy efficiency can help profitability of
their company and contribute to prosperity and a healthy environment. Companies who are
members receive technical and financial support through the University of Colorado, Denver.
Experiences and ideas are also exchanged between members in an effort to help companies to
energy efficient technologies more rapidly implement their energy plans.
3.3 Energy and Environmental Building Association 
The Energy and Environmental Building Association (EEBA) promotes the awareness,
education and development of energy efficient, environmentally responsible buildings and
communities. The EEBA has diverse membership including architects, builders, developers,
manufacturers, engineers, utilities, code officials, researchers, educators, and environmentalists.
Members are able to enhance their energy efficient work through education, networking,
marketing. The EEBA offers education classes and literature on various energy efficient
Many of the organizations that I have outlined center their approach around education. In many
cases the economic incentives are available without subsidies. The problem is a lack of
awareness of these opportunities. Government organizations have shown a better return on
funding, in the form of energy saved, through education programs rather than subsidies.
Furthermore, programs like Rebuild America stimulate capitol investment and contribute a
healthy economy. Current programs focus on the residential and commercial sectors. However,
the potential gains are even greater in the industrial sector. Cogeneration, and similar systems,
are excellent for many industrial applications and can reduce energy consumption of a facility by
up to 70%. A major opportunity to reduce energy consumption is for public and private
organizations to educate the industrial sector about energy efficient technology.
 Department of Energy: Energy Information Administration. www.eia.doe.gov
 Department of Energy: Rebuild America. www.rebuild.org
 Colorado Energy Science Center. www.energyscience.org
 American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. www.aceee.org
 Energy and Environmental Building Association. www.eeba.org