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Did you know that U.S. energy security is as easy as weatherstripping your house?

It’s time to update how we think about national energy issues. And better architecture is the key.

I learned so this week at the BEST3 conference, a tidy affair that draws a few hundred architects interested in better building walls and roofs. Held in Atlanta, the conference also brought attendees – including yours truly – to the fabulous High Museum for roast pork, beers and a peek at Picasso.

Sitting in Richard Meier’s serene lecture hall, we heard remarkable insights from keynoter R. Christopher Mathis, an Asheville, North Carolina-based consultant on building performance.

Architects make power plants disappear

With the zeal and conviction of a revival camp preacher, Mathis proves a few audacious claims, including this one: “A 30% improvement in U.S. building efficiency would reduce energy bills by $75 billion in 15 years and eliminate the need for 80 new nuclear power plants over the next 20 years.”

Eighty power plants? Yes. “And 30% is easy,” he adds.