Mark Hillsdon reports on how the signatories to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment are seeking to address performance as well as renewable energy to meet radical decarbonisation goals
Buildings are one of the biggest contributors to climate change, accounting for 36% of energy use globally. And despite improvements in building envelopes and systems, energy use in buildings continues to grow, with sharply rising demand for air conditioners, and an area of floor space the size of Paris constructed every week.
In November, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2018 Global Status Report: Towards a zero-emission, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector flagged up that energy-efficiency investment was slowing down compared with total investment in building construction and renovation.
It also pointed to a sharp rise in energy demand for cooling systems and air conditioners, which it linked to higher temperatures but also improving incomes in developing countries. Energy use for “space cooling” has increased 25% since 2010 and there are now more than 1.6 billion air conditioning units in buildings globally. (See Singapore leads way as Asian developers wake up to climate risk)
If we don’t make buildings more efficient, their rising energy use will impact us all
“Buildings are a key driver of energy demand, and developments within the sector such as the growing uptake of air conditioners are having a big impact on energy and environmental trends at the global level,” says...