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2022-03-28
Decarbonising Buildings in Cities and Regions
OECD

Accounting for nearly 40% of global CO2 emissions and sometimes as much as 70% in large cities, buildings and construction are central to the low-carbon transition. Decarbonising buildings, especially the old stock, through energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy use, not only reduces carbon emissions, but also generates co-benefits in health, energy affordability and the labour market. Additionally, global mega-trends and the transition to a green recovery from COVID-19 provide impetus for stakeholders to take action. Cities and regions have a key role to play and can leverage prerogatives in regulation, public procurement and stakeholder engagement, while addressing multiple governance, capacity and funding gaps. To accelerate and scale up their action, cities and regions need to work with national governments to create an effective governance mechanism. Drawing on the findings of a dedicated survey of cities and regions of all sizes from both OECD and non-OECD countries, this report explains their significant role, explores sub-national policy measures, identifies key obstacles, and provides policy recommendations and a checklist for both national and subnational governments to drive the decarbonisation of buildings in cities and regions.
 

Download the report here!

2022-02-11 | UNFCCC, GIZ, PEEB, BPIE
Compendium on GHG Emissions Baselines & Monitoring: Buildings sector Versions
UNFCCC secretariat

This volume on the building and construction sector provides an overview of the different sources of GHG emissions from the building and construction sector, as well as methodologies for quantifying these emissions to feed into the preparation and reporting of national GHG inventories. By better understanding the sources of emissions over the whole life cycle of buildings, it thus provides guidance on the most appropriate and effective mitigation strategies and policies for decarbonizing the building and construction sector based on national circumstances. We are optimistic that the guidance contained in this volume will be of some help to developing country Parties to make informed choices when setting building and construction sector emission reduction targets; implementing climate change mitigation actions and reporting on them in their national communications,biennial update reports and in future, biennial transparency reports.

2022-01-24 | BPIE
Implementing the Paris Agreement and reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life cycle of buildings: European public policies, tools and market initiatives
BPIE

The built environment offers significant carbon mitigation potential: decisive policy action will not only address the ongoing climate emergency we are facing, but will also directly reduce energy costs and improve security of supply, and has the potential to create widespread business opportunities and significant numbers of new, local jobs. Based on this context, the study presented in this report was developed at the request of the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) within the framework of the Specific Partnerships for Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA). This report discusses policies, tools and market initiatives aimed at reducing upfront emissions – that is, the embodied carbon associated with building construction, including the extraction and processing of materials.

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2022-01-20 | BPIE
EPBD Recast: New provisions need sharpening to hit climate targets
BPIE

This policy briefing finds that the European Commission’s December 15th EPBD recast proposal does not yet reflect the crucial role the EPBD should play within the Fit for 55 Package and within the greater narrative of securing energy independence. While it is welcome that many provisions are either introduced or open for modification, they will not deliver on the Directive’s objectives if the ambition is not set at the right level, and if measures are not made more stringent and coherent.  Ultimately, the scope of the EPBD recast proposal is incomplete, as the updated 2050 vision for the building stock only considers the operational phase of emissions from buildings. The long-term vision is also unbalanced, with a focus on reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions mainly through a full switch to renewables, while the “energy efficiency first” principle is not reflected in the outlined provisions. With the legislative process starting, there is now an opportunity to ensure the final Directive is improved and fully aligned with the EU 2030 and 2050 climate and energy efficiency objectives.

Read the policy briefing

2022-01-26 | Zsolt Toth, Jonathan Volt, Sibyl Steuwer
Roadmap to climate-proof buildings and construction – How to embed whole-life carbon in the EPBD
BPIE

Background: Climate change action is time critical. There is an immediate need to focus policy and market actions on emission reductions across the entire life cycle of buildings as these are very quickly using up the remaining carbon budget left before the tipping point of an irreversible climate crisis. This provides a compelling reason for policymakers to address all sources of carbon emissions from the buildings and construction sector, including both embodied and operational carbon – together referred to as “whole-life” carbon (WLC) emissions. Reducing embodied emissions is a global challenge that offers significant carbon reduction potential. Some countries in Europe (one of the leading regions addressing this challenge) have introduced policies to reduce whole-life carbon emissions from buildings and construction, with further national and EU-level initiatives expected in the near future. The ongoing review of key policy and legislative files provides a significant opportunity for the EU to begin consistently integrating WLC in the policy framework. About this roadmap: This roadmap for integrating WLC in the policy framework primarily focuses on the pending review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) but also makes links to the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The cornerstones of how to fully decarbonise the European Union’s building stock along its entire lifecycle must be laid now. Member States but also private actors need guidance and security to direct investments and set the framework to steer the required actions and trigger innovation. Considering the next revision is only planned by end of 2027, the time to get this right is now. BPIE's new roadmap sets out the necessary steps to introduce WLC considerations and align the provisions of the EPBD with climate-neutrality goals.

2021-12-17 | Sepehr Foroushani, Rob Bernhardt, MarkBernhardt
On Use Of The Reference Building Approach in Modern Building Energy Codes

This paper On Use Of The Reference Building Approach in Modern Building Energy Codes has just been published in Energy & Buildings.  Although the data used in the study is for homes in British Columbia, Canada, the use of the reference building approach to code compliance is widespread in Canada, the US and Australia in addition to being permitted by some rating systems in those countries and New Zealand. The findings of the study illustrate the importance of using outcome based, whole building performance metrics to achieve policy goals, as recommended by GlobalABC, the UN Framework Guidelines and other sources.

Established practices die hard, even when they fail to deliver results. The use of the reference building approach continues in Canada and elsewhere, with Canada planning to continue its use in the national model ‘net-zero ready’ building code for 2030. Please note, as explained in the paper, the phrase ‘reference building’ has a different meaning in the EU context, enabling the EU to avoid the performance gap identified in this paper.

2022-03-06 | ADEME, Resallience, French Ministry of Ecological Transition
Adaptation of the Building Sector to Climate Change: 10 Principles for Effective Action
GlobalABC Adaptation Working Group

UN Secretary-General calls latest IPCC WG1 Climate Report a ‘Code Red for Humanity’, stressing ‘irrefutable’ evidence of human influence, and that “climate impacts will undoubtedly worsen”.

Data collected over the recent decades shows that the climate is currently changing at an unprecedented pace due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since 2007, as shown in the latest IPCC report. Climate change will have especially severe consequences all over the world for a built environment designed for steady conditions and for the communities that inhabit them. Understanding these consequences will require the use of projected climate data from RCP models on different spatial scales and several time horizons.

Therefore, GlobalABC is proposing “10 Principles for Effective Action” to policymakers and practitioners to join forces and spread climate change adaptation actions in the building sector and willing to track annual progress.

To support these 10 Principles please contact the GlobalABC Adaptation Working Group at globalabc.adaptationwg@o-immobilierdurable.fr.

Download the 10 principles below!

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.

UNECE logo
2021-07-13
UNECE new national studies on energy efficiency in buildings for Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Moldova
UNECE

UNECE has developed three in-depth national studies for Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Moldova under the project “Enhancing National Capacities to Develop and Implement Energy Efficiency Standards for Buildings in the UNECE Region”, which aims to enhance capacity of the UNECE member States to improve energy efficiency in buildings, with a focus on residential buildings. More information on UNECE helps Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and the Republic of Moldova scale up cost-effective climate action by improving buildings’ energy efficiency 

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