According to the U.S. Department of Energy, businesses account for one-third of national energy consumption. Brady (, a company that provides energy systems and comprehensive building solutions for commercial and industrial facilities across North Carolina, recently held its 2011 EarthWise Expo to educate architects, engineers and facility operators on energy reduction practices for commercial buildings.

Keynote speaker Kevin Bright, managing director of energy efficiency at Duke Energy, spoke about why utility companies are interested in promoting energy conservation, what the smart grid is and where the technology is going. He also discussed how Duke Energy’s Smart $aver program can offset the cost of upgrading commercial facilities.

Presenter Amy Wang, attorney and LEED Green Associate with business law firm Ward & Smith, PA., noted lighting and HVAC systems are ranked atop the list of energy-saving features for buildings today. She also reported that the green building market—currently estimated at $55 to $72 billion—is expected to grow to $135 billion by 2015 according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth report.

Presenter Stephen Wiggins, associate partner with consultant and engineering firm Newcomb & Boyd, discussed the value in retro-commissioning older buildings. Citing “Improved Indoor Environment Could Save Billions of Dollars” by Fisk and Rosenfeld for the U.S. Green Building Council, he noted that workplace environmental conditions account for loss of productivity estimated between $29 and $168 billion nationally.

More than 400 professionals attended the day-long events in Raleigh and Greensboro. In addition to the seminars providing continuing education credits, twenty-eight equipment manufacturers lined the expo hall and provided information on specific energy reduction technologies. Brady provides the Earthwise Expo free of charge every two years as part of the firm’s commitment to promoting energy efficiency for commercial facilities across North Carolina.

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