The Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) signed an agreement last week that continues and expands a partnership between AIA and DOE’s Building Programs.Washington D.C. – October 7, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the site of DOE’s first-ever Solar Decathlon on the Mall in Washington, D.C. “This agreement reaffirms the partnership between the Department of Energy and the American Institute of Architects that focuses on architectural design and education as tools to promote energy efficiency and Renewable Energy,” said David Garman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE. “The Solar Decathlon is a perfect example of this type of effort.” DOE and AIA will continue their joint work by: creating buildings conducive to resource efficiency; encouraging improvements in the quality of indoor environment and occupant productivity; advocating increased use of renewable, clean energy sources; working to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment; and promoting global economic opportunities through internationally recognized high performance design and energy-efficient structures. According to the DOE a building’s energy expenses can be reduced by 25 percent to 30 percent by using the best technologies and practices. Commercial and residential electric power expenses are about US$163 billion annually in the United States. A 25 percent reduction in energy use could save US$40 billion per year. A similar cut in natural gas bills could save more than US$11 billion per year. Examples of high-performance commercial buildings and residential homes that showcase energy efficiency and Renewable Energy practices in design, components, materials and construction can be found at the DOE’s Web site.