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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.

2014-01-01 | CESBA
CESBA POLICY PAPER
VISIBLE Interreg Project

The CESBA initiative policy paper establishes the policy position of CESBA regarding EU policy developments on sustainable building. The incentive to draw up the paper has been a process launched by the European Commission within the frame of the Europe2020 strategy: The Commission aims at developing a Europe-wide approach to assess the environmental performance of buildings. The CESBA initiative policy paper welcomes this process and highlights the need for a harmonized approach due to the diversity of local issues in Europe. CESBA stresses that it is ready and willing to share its knowledge with all stakeholders.

2013-01-01 | IEA
MODERNISING BUILDING ENERGY CODES
IEA

Going beyond traditional buildings energy codes (new approaches): Governments need to check compliance and enforce their building energy codes. The ultimate objective of building energy codes should be to move buildings from net energy consumers to net energy producers. By increasing the stringency of energy requirements each time building energy codes are updated, it is possible to move towards nearly zero-energy consumption for the overall building, including all its appliances and equipment. Using renewable energy sources from the building itself and other neighbouring buildings can help with this transformation, and is key to achieving net energy production from buildings.

2017-11-02 | IFC -International Finance Corporation
CREATING MARKETS FOR CLIMATE BUSINESS: AN IFC CLIMATE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES REPORT
IFC -International Finance Corporation

The report points to trillions of dollars’ worth of climate-smart investment opportunities and emphasizes the need for smart policy reforms from governments and innovative business models to unlock private sector finance.

A large portion of the report is devoted to the green buildings sector, and urban infrastructure in general. The report also includes new developments and next steps for key cross-cutting solutions such as green finance, green bonds, blended finance, carbon pricing, public-private partnerships, and city creditworthiness. IFC found a potential of at least $3.4 trillion for green building investments through 2025, and has produced recommendations for a number of actions needed to achieve this potential. You can access the investment opportunity series and download the report at ifc.org/climate/investmentopportunities 

2017-07-01 | Komali Yenneti, Mattheos Santamouris, Deo Prasad, Lan Ding
COOLING CITIES STRATEGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES TO MITIGATE URBAN HEAT
Cooperative Research Council for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) (286)

Cooling Cities, Strategies and Technologies to Mitigate Urban Heat, Discussion Paper

2019-06-29 | Oliver Rapf, BPIE
THE ZERO CARBON AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY CHALLENGE IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT – POLICY OPTIONS FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION AND ITS MEMBER STATES
Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE)

Getting on track to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C, as was agreed in Paris back in 2015, would not just be good for our climate, but first and foremost for all citizens. What changes to the European policy framework and new initiatives could be prepared and implemented in the coming years?

This paper on the zero carbon and circular challenge in the built environment puts forward several policy recommendations. In order to achieve the net-zero carbon goal by 2050, adapting the built environment is paramount: the EU estimates that the climate change-related damage to infrastructure could grow tenfold under a business-as-usual scenario.

The paper advocates the need to come up with a comprehensive strategy for the building and construction sector which should build on the principles of sustainability and circularity. It also highlights the societal benefit generated by energy renovation and building upgrades. The paper touches upon several key aspects of the circularity challenge, namely, building design, the construction material challenge, urban biodiversity and buildings in the energy system.

Changing how we construct, heat and cool our buildings will trigger positive change in many neighbouring sectors, including energy and heavy industry, but also in sectors which at first sight may seem less connected, such as health and education. The paper builds on a workshop organised by BPIE earlier this year and which gathered organizations in the energy field: Climate KIC, DG Connect, DG Environment, Eurima, EuroACE, Institute for European Studies, IUCN, RAP, ROCKWOOL Group, United Technologies Corporation, Wageningen Environmental Research, and the BPIE Board of Directors.

Read the paper here

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