In the Toolkit --


  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Leagues in Action
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Climate Action
  • Price on Carbon
  • Our Children's Trust
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources


    According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy, residential and commercial buildings combined are responsible for about 40 percent of the country's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Buildings account for 41 percent of U.S. energy consumption, three-fouths of its electricity usage, and nearly 10 percent of total water used.

    Emissions include both direct emissions (primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels for space and water heating and for cooking) and the emissions from electricity generation attributable to the residential and commercial sectors, including electricity for lighting, cooling, and appliances. Electricity consumption accounts for roughly three-fourths of total residential and commercial CO2 emissions.

    Emissions from buildings have been rising steadily in recent decades, with the exception of 2008 and 2009. Primarily due to the recession, building sector energy expenditures decreased 8 percent from 2008 to 2009, resulting in an almost 6 percent decline in CO2 emissions. Building emissions rose again in 2010.

    Significant reductions in these emissions can be achieved, however, by improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The technologies needed to improve building efficiency are readily available and cost-effective. Improving building efficiency can help curb U.S. emissions immediately as we work longer term to expand the country's renewable energy resources and put the country on a path to a sustainable future.

    Explore the following sections to learn more about ways to promote improved energy efficiency in buildings --