Energy + Environment

DOE Publishes Plan To Decarbonize US Economy By 2050


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has recently published an 83 page report titled, DECARBONIZING THE U.S. ECONOMY BY 2050: A National Blueprint for the Buildings Sector. The new report defines a path to transition buildings to clean energy sources and reduce overall energy consumption in order to address not just climate risks but also the physical and financial well-being of all Americans.

The plan is intended to reduce US building emissions 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. This would enable net-zero emissions economy wide, while delivering equity and benefits to communities.

The report outlines three cross-cutting goals and four strategic objectives.

Cross-Cutting Goals:

1. Equity – Advance energy justice and benefits to disadvantaged communities

2. Affordability – Reduce energy burden and technology costs so all can benefit

3. Resilience – Increase the ability of communities to withstand and recover from stresses

Strategic Objectives:

1. Increase building energy efficiency: Reduce on-site energy use intensity in buildings 35% by 2035 and 50% by 2050 vs. 2005.

2. Accelerate on-site emissions reductions: Reduce on-site GHG emissions in buildings 25% by 2035 and 75% by 2050 vs. 2005.

3. Transform the grid edge: Reduce electrical infrastructure costs by tripling demand flexibility potential by 2050 vs. 2020.

4. Minimize embodied life cycle emissions: Reduce embodied emissions from building materials and construction 90% by 2050 vs. 2005.

These four strategic objectives can impact the lighting industry. The first objective of deep efficiency retrofits in buildings would increase lighting retrofits. The second objective includes electrifying HVAC and water heating. This along with electrification of transportation and rapid increases in data center energy demand are already causing electricity rates to rise well above inflation. Higher electricity costs will further motivate deep energy efficiency investments, including lighting. The third objective would increase demand response and therefore advanced building controls, including lighting controls.

The complete DOE report can be downloaded here.


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David Shiller
David Shiller is the Publisher of LightNOW, and President of Lighting Solution Development, a North American consulting firm providing business development services to advanced lighting manufacturers. The ALA awarded David the Pillar of the Industry Award. David has co-chaired ALA’s Engineering Committee since 2010. David established MaxLite’s OEM component sales into a multi-million dollar division. He invented GU24 lamps while leading ENERGY STAR lighting programs for the US EPA. David has been published in leading lighting publications, including LD+A, enLIGHTenment Magazine, LEDs Magazine, and more.


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