The 2018 Global Status Report — Towards a Zero-Emission, Efficient and Resilient Buildings and Construction Sector was launched on December 7 2018 in Katovice, Poland in front of dozens of international media representatives. The panel answered questions live, both from the in-person audience and online. The panel discussion included: Yves-Laurent Sapoval, Senior Advisor for the Directorate for Housing, Urban Development, and Landscapes, France; Rasmus Valanko, Director Climate & Energy, World Business Council on Sustainable Development; Brian Dean, Energy Efficiency, International Energy Agency; Lucas Di Pietro, Coordinator of Adaptation to Climate Change at the National Direction on Climate Change, Argentina.
This report is a key part of the GlobalABC's efforts towards a zero-emission, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector. The benefits of investing now in sustainable buildings are massive.Some of the report's findings outlining these muliple belenefits are listed below. They include local benefits such as job creation, increased productivity, reductions in local air pollution and poverty alleviation. All of these enable:
Improved energy access. Energy efficiency is vital for improving energy access by increasing the available bandwidth in energy networks, improving reliability and reducing costs for access to secure, affordable and sustainable energy.
Better health and well‐being. Energy efficiency measures can support good physical and mental health, primarily by creating healthy indoor living environments with improved air temperatures, humidity levels, noise levels and air quality.
Work at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (United States) has shown that using green building certification standards has considerable energy, economic and health benefits, with USD 5.8 billion in health benefits from reductions in air pollution emissions and USD 7.5 billion in energy savings across six countries using LEED (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Turkey and the United States) (MacNaughton et al., 2018).
Poverty alleviation. Energy efficiency retrofitting of low‐income housing offers a more enduring solution to energy poverty than continuous support through energy subsidies.
Increased comfort. Improved insulation, heating, cooling and ventilation systems are beneficial to improving thermal comfort and air quality, consistently improve mental health, and significantly reduce respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and allergies.
Higher employment. Energy efficiency employment in buildings and construction helps increase economic productivity, creating direct and indirect jobs.
Greater productivity. A healthier and more comfortable work environment improves productivity and decreases employee absenteeism.
Pay for themselves in financial and human capital. Investments in energy efficient buildings are low risk, and have short payback periods as the energy and fuel savings typically pay for themselves, but the secondary impacts, like increases in health and productivity, multiply the economic gains. These investments also reduce the risk of stranded assets, as the fuel supply is often unpredictable.
UN Environment invites all media to cover the launch of the report.