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2021-10-19
2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction

The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction is a reference document published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC). This year's edition finds that in 2020, the sector accounted for 36 per cent of global final energy consumption and 37 per cent of energy related CO2 emissions, as compared to other end use sectors. While the level of emissions within the sector are 10 per cent lower than in 2019, reaching lows not seen since 2007, this was largely due to lockdowns, slowing of economies, difficulties households and businesses faced in maintaining and affording energy access and a fall in construction activity. Efforts to decarbonize the sector played only a small role.

Global Energy and Emissions 2021 Buildings GSR

Collectively, stakeholders in the sector must seize the opportunity that the COVID-19 economic recovery period offers to foster transformation for decarbonizing the sector. The sector must simultaneously meet a projected near-doubling of global demand for energy services in buildings and at least a doubling of floor space as developing economies continue to respond to the growing demand for building floor space, access to energy services and economic activities.

 

2021-07-28 | GlobalABC, ICLEI
Human Settlements - Climate Action Pathway
Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action

The GlobalABC is co-lead of the Built Environment Track of the Human Settlements Pathway!

The Human Settlements are one of the Thematic Areas of the Climate Action Pathways, which are a vital part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) tools to enhance climate action and ambition towards fully implementing the Paris Agreement. The Pathways aim to provide a roadmap to help Parties and non-Party stakeholders alike to identify actions needed by 2025, 2030 and 2040 as steps to get to the 2050 vision of a 1.5°C resilient world. In this regard, the climate action pathway for human settlements addresses whole-life carbon mitigation, adaptation and resilience in the built environment, as well as waste and consumption within human settlements.

Restricting climate change to 1.5°C would need “rapid and far-reaching” changes around energy use, industry and buildings design, as well as the wider planning of cities and infrastructure. The buildings and construction sector currently account for almost 40% of global energy and process-related carbon emissions, while around half of buildings that are predicted to exist in 2050 have yet to be built. Continuing in this direction, over 970 cities could be subjected to extreme heat, 500 cities could suffer from lack of water availability, and over 570 cities could be impacted by sea level rise by 2050. If action is not taken today, we risk locking emissions and vulnerability into our buildings and infrastructure that will become increasingly costly to mitigate in the future. Based on this critical observation, the built environment track of the Human Settlements climate action pathway outlines a set of necessary stakeholder (i.e. policy makers, financial institutions, technology providers and innovators, business and service providers and civil society) actions to be taken to accelerate the transition to a net-zero carbon, healthy and resilient built environment.

2021-07-09
Decarbonizing construction: Guidance for investors and developers to reduce embodied carbon
World Business Council for Sustainable Development

A large part of the construction sector’s emissions come from building products and materials – referred to as embodied carbon. Embodied carbon is increasingly becoming the focus of regulatory bodies, making it a risk factor for developers and investors to price into construction projects.

This report provides guidance on how to reduce embodied carbon in buildings. The report targets developers and investors who have a unique opportunity to shape demand and drive transformation at the early stages of building projects. By doing so, they can significantly reduce the “financed” emissions across different asset classes they are invested in.

The report provides over 50 embodied carbon-reduction policies and best practices that investors and developers can adopt for their projects and guidance on how to use them. We have grouped each measure into one of the following five categories.

  • Create a carbon policy that sets out consistent requirements for all projects to follow.
  • Set targets and transparency requirements for projects to meet across all their phases.
  • Prioritize circularity – that is, less new building and more reuse and refurbishment.
  • Design optimization to use less material and to choose materials with a low carbon footprint.
  • Low-carbon procurement to ensure acquisition of materials with a low carbon footprint.

Developers and investors can use the guidance as it stands or adapt it to their needs. The measures and requirements are flexible and can easily be combined with different green building certifications or sustainability reporting systems.

2021-07-08
Net-zero buildings: Where do we stand?
World Business Council for Sustainable Development

This report looks in detail at the results of six whole life cycle assessment (WLCA) case studies to illustrate some of the challenges, barriers and opportunities relating to the building industry’s carbon footprint. It aims to provide an insight into the industry’s current performance and compare it to possible net-zero trajectories.

Analyzing the whole life carbon emissions of six building projects using the WBCSD Building System Carbon Framework, the report shows that:

  • An average whole life carbon footprint of 1,800 kgCO2e/m2 was estimated across the six case studies.
  • As much as 50% of whole life carbon emissions in a building comes from embodied carbon (manufacturing of materials and the construction process) the majority of this being emitted immediately at the start of the life cycle.
  • Typically as few as six materials account for 70% of the construction-related embodied carbon.

The report identifies crucial next steps to support the sector’s journey toward decarbonization:

  • Adopt a clear definition of a net-zero building, taking into account whole life-cycle carbon.
  • Carry out WLCA on all projects, using a consistent methodology and open-source sharing of the data obtained.
  • Commit to clear, simple global targets across the buildings industry, including a valid approach to residual emissions (offsetting).
  • Develop consistent and transparent carbon intensity certification for components, systems and materials used by the industry.
  • Achieve wider collaboration as individual organizations taking action is not enough.

WBCSD developed this report in collaboration with professional service firm Arup. The authors encourage stakeholders from across the built environment to conduct whole-life carbon assessments of their projects and openly publish the results to create a body of evidence and foster shared learning.

2021-07-06 | Rajat Gupta (Oxford Brookes University), Mittul Vahanvati (RMIT University), Julia Häggström (SEfficiency), Jacob S. Halcomb (SEfficiency).
A Practical Guide to Climate-resilient Buildings & Communities
UNEP & SEfficiency

This practical guide demonstrates how buildings and community spaces can be constructed to increase their resilience to climate change, especially in developing countries where structures are largely self-built. The publication provides an overview of the fundamental types of interventions at the building scale, including the use of nature-based solutions. 

The guide offers construction solutions to adapt to a range of different risks in various climates. For instance, it shows us how to reduce indoor heat in hot and arid climates, or how to mitigate cyclone impacts on buildings in hot and humid climates. Importantly, the report also provides us with a highly practical checklist that should be considered by government officers and development practitioners when undertaking a new building project. 

The guidance has been developed because there is a recognized need to understand good practices for climate-resilient buildings in communities that may suffer from a deficit of professionally trained architects, engineers, and other practitioners. Therefore, this note is written for a broad audience, including those with little experience in the building and construction industries.

2021-08-07 | Myriam Steinemann (INFRAS), Stefan Kessler (INFRAS)
DECARBONIZING THE BUILDING SECTOR - 10 KEY MEASURES

This publication aims to inspire senior officials and decision makers in national, subnational and local governments to decarbonize the building sector, and to show them how to start. It does not present a comprehensive strategy, but rather highlights a set of essential measures and successful examples from intervention areas identified in the GlobalABC Regional Roadmaps – new buildings, existing buildings, building operations, building materials, and resilience. It assists officials and decision makers in identifying a starting point of a process for systematically incorporating building activities in their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. For a holistic approach, senior officials and decision makers may refer to the more comprehensive GlobalABC Global and Regional Roadmaps.

2021-02-03
Buildings and Climate Change Adaptation: A Call to Action

This report is the first output of the GlobalABC “adaptation” working group (see appendix methodology), launched at COP24 in Katowice. During the Global- ABC meeting in Rabat in October 2018, the representatives of the Kingdom of Morocco and GlobalABC members expressed their mutual wish to see the challenges of climate change adaptation and the benefits of initiatives in the real-estate, building, and construction sector (referred to in this report as the RBC sector) be put in the spotlight, as up until now they have not been given due attention. The report was coordinated by the Green Building Observatory (OID, Paris) with the support of the French Ministry of Ecological Transition.

Climate change is regarded as the major issue that humanity will face this century. Extreme weather events and failure to implement climate-change mitigation and adaptation actions are the two greatest risks that the global economy will face in terms of their likelihood and impact, according to the World Economic Forum (2019).

The built environment is particularly at risk from climate change, and as such so are the people living and working within buildings. Governments and all actors along the buildings and construction value chain therefore need to take action, as climate risks pose a real threat to the lives and economic activities of people. Buildings as long-term assets should be resilient to climate change, and also to other future risks such as pandemics and potential behavior changes.

The report is divided into: 

PART 1: Why Does Adapting Buildings to Climate Change Matter?

The first section of the report deals with global challenges regarding adaptation of the built environment: definitions and relevance, macro-economic impacts (costs of adaptation vs non-adaptation) as well as the strong links between adaptation and mitigation in the RBC sector.

 

PART 2: Adapting the RBC Sector to Climate Change

The second section highlights ongoing and necessary changes in the RBC sector to better integrate adaptation challenges: processes based on the building lifecycle, risk assessments, regulatory frameworks and stakeholder engagement, i.e. creating an enabling environment for change. This section introduces concrete actions to this end.

 

PART 3: Frameworks of Action

The third and most important section presents a framework for suggested action for key actors in the RBC sector. It summarizes specific challenges faced by each actor in adapting buildings to climate change and identifies the current global state of their practices along with recommendations for each stakeholder group in order to improve the adaptation of buildings to climate change. The action plan was informed by surveys and interviews held with relevant stakeholders and has been reviewed by sectoral organisations. Five challenges and five recommendations are presented, selected in order to focus on the most critical issues.

 

Download now the full report or the specific sections below! 

2020 Buildings-GSR
2020-12-16
2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction

The Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction is a reference document of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC). The fifth edition of this annual snapshot of the progress of the buildings and construction sector globally towards the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, particularly on the drivers of CO2 emissions and energy demand globally and the status of policies, finance, technologies, and solutions that support a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector. This year’s Buildings-GSR features input from over 110 GlobalABC members and experts from all regions: a true collaborative effort, building a global community. This year’s Buildings-GSR shines a light on the disruptions of COVID-19 and some of the responses in 2020, and includes a snapshot on emerging key issues: materials, nature-based solutions, health, and cooling for resilience. It also introduces a new index to track progress in decarbonisation in the sector – the Buildings Climate Tracker (BCT).

While the total final energy consumption of the global buildings sector remained at the same level in 2019 compared to the previous year, CO2 emissions from the operation of buildings have increased to their highest level yet at around 10 GtCO2, or 28% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions. With the inclusion of emissions from the buildings construction industry, this share increases to 38% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions. The slightly lower proportion of buildings emissions compared with the 39% seen in 2018 was due to the increases in transport and other industry emissions relative to buildings.

2020 Buildings GSR
Sources: (IEA 2020d; IEA 2020b). All rights reserved. Adapted from “IEA World Energy Statistics and Balances” and “Energy TechnologyPerspectives".

Authors: Dr. Ian Hamilton and Dr. Harry Kennard from University College London (UCL) and Oliver Rapf, Dr. Judit Kockat and Dr. Sheikh Zuhaib from the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), with support from Thibaut Abergel and Michael Oppermann from the International Energy Agency (IEA), and support from Martina Otto, Sophie Loran, Nora Steurer and Natacha Nass from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC)

 

 

 

2016-01-01 | ENERGIES 2050
GUIDE DU BÂTIMENT DURABLE EN RÉGIONS TROPICALES: TOME 1, STRATÉGIES DE CONCEPTION DES NOUVEAUX BÂTIMENTS
OIF/IFDD

The guide of sustainable buildings in tropical regions aims to bring some answers to the environmental, economic and social issues linked to a massive urbanization process and to buildings’ design and conception methods that are often unfitted to tropical regions. It has been designed to serve as a reference for professionals of the construction sector, and more generally, of the built environment, as well as to decisions makers in the relevant areas. More globally, it aims to be a tool for teachers, lecturers and students in building design and construction. It is finally an invitation for everyone to question its professional practices and contribute to the development of more resilient, sober in resources and with low GHG emissions infrastructures. The first part of this guide focuses on designing new buildings, while the second part focuses more on refurbishing the existing building stock.

2016-01-01 | ENERGIES 2050
GUIDE DU BÂTIMENT DURABLE EN RÉGIONS TROPICALES: TOME 2, STRATÉGIES DE CONCEPTION DES NOUVEAUX BÂTIMENTS
OIF/IFDD

The guide of sustainable buildings in tropical regions aims to bring some answers to the environmental, economic and social issues linked to a massive urbanization process and to buildings’ design and conception methods that are often unfitted to tropical regions. It has been designed to serve as a reference for professionals of the construction sector, and more generally, of the built environment, as well as to decisions makers in the relevant areas. More globally, it aims to be a tool for teachers, lecturers and students in building design and construction. It is finally an invitation for everyone to question its professional practices and contribute to the development of more resilient, sober in resources and with low GHG emissions infrastructures. The first part of this guide focuses on designing new buildings, while the second part focuses more on refurbishing the existing building stock.

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