Click here for a slide show on Justifications for Energy-Saving Technology and click here for Dr. McCluney's paper on this subject at the 2004 meeting of the Solar Energy Society of Canada. The technologies addressed are quite broad in scope, but they do include high energy performance fenestration systems. Here's a summary:
Energy saving technology offers many environmental, human health, national security, and comfort benefits. Protecting the future for a viable human culture while improving comfort and security (saving money in the long run) are additional benefits to which nearly everyone subscribes. In spite of this, energy-saving technology is not widely enough used. The main apparent drawback is that nearly all energy-conserving systems require you to pay more upon installation while reaping savings over time, with a few notable exceptions. Unfortunately, there seems to be but one dominant criterion for most purchase decisions in an industrialized world: narrowly-defined monetary benefit. Non-monetary benefits (other than aesthetics, functionality, and other personally observable qualities of the product) are rarely considered, especially in consumer markets—except where government-imposed energy standards are in place and enforced.
The last century and a half has seen an exponentially growing exploitation of inexpensive fossil fuels. This has made life much better for large numbers of people, but at the same time natural limits to growth are being approached and exceeded. World oil production is expected to peak before this decade is over. Rising prices for oil and all other fossil fuels, coupled with a growing worldwide demand for this energy, mean that more aggressive measures are needed to force stronger energy standards and accelerated market penetration for the better technology. If we are to achieve a truly sustainable society, we need to stop population growth, implement radical increases in energy conservation, and pursue a massive switch to renewable energy. The survival of humanity may be at stake.
Through its power to fund studies and publicize their results, and to pass laws and assess taxes, fines, and tariffs—as well as provide a variety of financial and other incentives—government can force the massive changes that are needed. Education and information dissemination are also critical. For if the people do not see the value, it is difficult for government to support the needed changes. Extensive public education is therefore an essential prerequisite for strong government action. All levels of public and private education must be involved, and the mass media (including the corporations owning them) have important responsibilities to participate as well. These actions must be coupled to a larger transformation of societal beliefs and a restructuring of our systems of government and commerce toward the new beliefs. It is becoming clear that these are necessary components of any effective program aimed at saving humanity without massive loss of life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness in the process.