The building sector is not on track to lower total greenhouse gas emissions. Given that emissions from the sector represent nearly 40% of global energy-and process-related emissions, this represents a serious challenge to keeping global warming to 1.5oC. The Buildings sector must therefore decarbonize.
To support this goal, this report focuses on policy drivers for decarbonisation, and the costs and benefits associated with their implementation. In this report these policies are referred to as building climate actions, and include policies that tackle reducing (1) direct emissions from building energy use which includes (2) indirect emissions from the power sector, (3) and emissions from energy used in the building materials and construction supply chain (embodied emissions). All three aspects of the carbon footprint of buildings need to be addressed by policy-makers and practitioners in cost effective ways. Although gaps in the evidence base make generalisation unreliable, the body of experience over many years indicates that the social and economic co-benefits of taking these actions outweigh the costs of development and implementation. Inaction also increases the cost of climate adaptation, and exacerbates risks to health, security and property that create an imperative for taking urgent actions to decarbonize the buildings sector.