Towards zero-emission efficient and resilient buildings – Global status report 2016

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Towards zero-emission efficient and resilient buildings – Global status report 2016

This Global Status Report by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) reconfirms the significance of building energy consumption as a contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also shows that efforts to decarbonise the building sector through the implementation of comprehensive policy frameworks and the deployment of existing energy efficient technologies and building design approaches can deliver positive economic, social, health and environmental benefits.


According to the report, the effective implementation of building energy policies, technologies and efficient building designs and renovations relies on reliability and accessible data as a basis for decision-making, technical-professional capability and increasing the level of awareness and demand for energy efficient and low-carbon buildings.


The report concludes that some progress is being made; however, the pace and scale of actions does not match neither the need nor the urgency of the challenge. To realise the potential of the sector requires policy, technology and finance measures which will accelerate efforts in all regions.



Key findings


  • Increased deployment of building energy codes and policies, along with increased use of energy-efficient technologies, has helped to offset increases in total building energy consumption since 1990, despite the huge increase in the global built area. However, global building energy consumption per capita has remained practically unchanged in that period. This requires further effort in policies that spur technology improvements as well as behavioural changes of building owners and users.
  • Harnessing the energy savings and GHG mitigation potential of the building sector is recognised as essential to achieving and exceeding the climate goals of NDCs and non-state actors. 88 countries to date have recognised the role of the building and construction sector in their INDCs. Although, this still represents only about half of all nations.
  • Investment in energy-efficient buildings is increasing rapidly, but to scale up funding, more needs to be done to further strengthen the existing evidence base of building energy performance and return on investments. The report identifies the necessity for global funds, such as the Green Climate Fund and development banks, to increase funding for quality, high-impact projects. Financing for capacity building and market development is also needed to move an efficient, low-carbon buildings and construction market forward.
  • Actors beyond national governments have a critical role to play, in partnership or concertation with the former. Many cities and businesses are already committed to achieving ambitious building energy and climate goals. More can be done to facilitate the engagement of the public and private sectors in local markets to develop market transformation action plans that support NDCs.
  • In addition to energy efficiency, it is critical to incorporate renewable energy and the full array of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies in building policies and commitments.
  • Given the fast pace of urbanisation and the longevity of buildings, failing to address building energy use, or setting only moderate energy and climate mitigation goals, will lead to a lock-in of higher-than-necessary energy demand and emissions from buildings and construction. This also risks locking in poor access to energy services and sustainable energy, which in turn undermines the achievement of sustainable development goals.


To download the report, please visit the relevant GABC webpage at the link below.