MIT Energy Conference

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Opportunities, Pathways, and Solutions

The MIT Energy Conference is an annual student-run conference that brings together leaders in the fields of technology, policy, industry, and finance to develop solutions for the the world’s most pressing energy challenges.

The MIT Energy Conference frames conversation and informs debate on the most pressing global energy issues and opportunities. Each year, it brings together current and future leaders in energy technology, policy and business to participate in stimulating discussions. The engaging ensemble of events provides a chance to foster the relationships necessary in pursuit of sustainable energy systems.

The MIT Energy Conference aims to bring together leaders to develop solutions for the tremendous challenges present in today’s energy markets. The confluence of environmental and security concerns have created an opportunity for fundamental change in the way the world produces and consumes energy. The MIT Energy Conference showcases promising technology and policy approaches that have the potential to achieve critical scale and make a significant impact on the global energy landscape.

Environmental and security concerns have created an opportunity for fundamental change in the way the world produces and consumes energy. The MIT Energy Conference explored these opportunities and showcased promising technology and policy pathways that have the potential to make a significant impact on energy solutions across the global energy landscape.


Energy Efficiency in Residential Buildings: Challenges and Opportunities

Residential buildings contribute to more than 20% of the end-use energy in the United States. Improving the energy performance of the built environment represents both a considerable challenge and a promising business opportunity. Not only is there a lack of agreement of what “green buildings” are, but misalignments of interests and incentives between builders, owners, and residents, an entrenched reluctance for change in the construction business, and a lack of an integrated design process all hinder improvements in energy efficiency in retrofits and new construction. To surmount these economic and social barriers, public education, economic incentives, and common metrics are increasingly seen as essential instruments to drive efficient energy use in residential buildings.

This workshop provided a comprehensive discussion of current trends in residential building energy use reduction in the United States. It introduced the key issues for energy-efficient residential building design and operation, present potential economic incentives, and explore policy implementation models. Since new construction has nearly halted due to the economic downturn, standards that address retrofit possibilities, though more complex, are critical to reduction of energy use nationally. Ultimately, a combination approach will be required to incite substantial change, but the form of each approach has yet to be developed. The audience participated in this discussion for the path forward.

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