The 22nd biennial American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings returned to Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey, California in August 2022, bringing together energy professionals from around the world to brainstorm how best to decarbonize buildings, boost their efficiency, and advance equity. The theme for the 2022 Summer Study “Climate Solutions: Efficiency, Equity, and Decarbonization” highlighted the urgency needed to equitably transition to a decarbonized grid. With its formal presentations of 400-plus research papers, informal sessions, and casual setting, the 2022 Summer Study was the ideal forum to take on this challenge.
The National Energy Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) attended the event, participating in multiple panels including “New Construction: From Codes to Net Zero” where they shared the paper A Scalable Method for Decarbonizing Modular Building Solutions based on their 2022 report with Blokable. The Summer Study paper details how Blokable worked with NREL on a roadmap to decarbonize its high-performance building product at a relative cost advantage by utilizing the learning curves of mass production.
The study found that by prioritizing low-carbon materials and systems, productized,
high-performance developers and builders like Blokable can achieve 60% lifecycle emissions reductions by 2030, without a cost premium. However, unless decarbonization is planned from all levels— from internationally, nationally, and state-level, to utility and industry level—its implementation will be slow moving. Without a clear roadmap for energy-performance thresholds or GHG limits for products and materials, developers and building owners will find it difficult to plan for reducing their future environmental impacts. In contrast, through staged planning for emissions reduction of building materials, components, and operations, integrated developer-owners can create more accurate roadmaps of their own to stage a path for decarbonization.