The Future of Energy Efficiency for U.S. Buildings - Drivers and Market Scenarios

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Conference Proceedings

Date Published




This paper identifies likely drivers of building efficiency over the next ten years and expectations for how efficiency markets may evolve over this period. To prepare these predictions, we conducted an extensive literature review, interviewed 22 experts, reviewed legislation and executive orders in 12 states, and implemented a detailed questionnaire completed by 41 efficiency practitioners. The two most important drivers revealed by our research are (1) public policies and regulations, particularly those associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation and (2) the cost of energy relative to the cost of delivering efficiency. Other important drivers are technology changes, economic conditions, social priorities, and industry (including utility) business practices for increasing the uptake of efficiency in buildings. Our research indicates that efficiency markets will increasingly focus on supporting building decarbonization and enabling demand flexibility through the use of controls in grid-interactive efficient buildings and communities. Efficiency improvements for specific technologies (e.g., heat pumps, controls, and windows) and technological advances not specific to energy technologies (e.g., interoperability, artificial intelligence, and universal internet access) will improve the efficacy of efficiency measures and actions. Marketing of efficient products and services will increasingly focus on grid services, decarbonization, non-energy benefits for consumers, and integration with other distributed energy resources (DERs). We anticipate increased investment in disadvantaged and historically underserved communities, recognizing the social, health, and safety benefits of efficient energy usage and remediating historical biases. Lastly, we predict that while state and local government actions will vary, jurisdictions will increase their efficiency goals overall. 

Year of Publication



2022 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings proceedings printed with permission.


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