Lena Hansen

Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute,
electricity practice

An excerpt from Washington Post Live’s recent Smart Energy conference.

We recently worked with the Empire State Building in New York. Through some really innovative, creative designs, that building was able to cut its energy use by about 38 percent with a three-year payback. That’s great. Tony Malkin, who owns the Empire State Building, really is not in it for any reason other than to save money.

I think that’s a great example of what really is possible. But there are a lot of reasons why that 38 percent, that 50 percent, efficiency potential is not being adopted right now. We really need to get on that because capturing the energy-efficiency potential in this country is a huge opportunity. It’s about $1.9 trillion [in] savings by 2050 if we can actually overcome these barriers and get it right.