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Updated: April 15, 2024 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: What energy-efficiency strategies can I incorporate into my new building?

Q: What energy-efficiency strategies can I incorporate into my new building?

ACE Advises: Designing and building a new commercial space presents a prime opportunity to integrate best practices from the outset, minimizing both environmental impact and long-term operational costs. Here are three areas developers can focus on to achieve optimal energy performance in their new building.

1. Strategic site selection: Carefully choose the site to leverage natural resources to minimize energy consumption, such as prioritizing locations with opportunities to install ample rooftop or ground-mounted solar. Opting for brownfield redevelopment sites can reduce the need to bring in new power connections while helping to revitalize communities and preserve green spaces.

2. Sustainable design and building materials: Design with passive heating and cooling strategies, such as natural ventilation and daylighting, to reduce reliance on mechanical systems. Implement water-saving fixtures and landscaping techniques to conserve resources. Adopting sustainable design principles may qualify you for Efficiency Maine incentives, tax breaks, and other lucrative financial benefits.

Finally, consider using mass timber, the development of which Maine is a pioneer. Wood delivers multiple structural benefits and a lower carbon footprint over conventional building materials, and its use can also save time and money during construction.

3. Technological innovation: Finally, plan to integrate smart technologies and energy management systems to optimize your building’s building performance. Utilize sensors and automation to adjust lighting, temperature, and ventilation based on occupancy and environmental conditions. Regularly monitor energy usage data and conduct energy audits to identify areas for improvement. Engage occupants in energy-saving practices through education and behavioral incentives.

By incorporating strategic site selection, sustainable design practices, and cutting-edge technologies, Maine developers can create a new building that not only meets the needs of its occupants but also minimizes its environmental footprint and maximizes energy savings.

Sam Milton is the owner of Climate Resources Group, a Maine-based company that connects businesses with financial incentives to afford clean energy and energy efficiency in their operations. Learn more at, and you can reach Sam at

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