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The continued growth in buildings emissions contrasts starkly with the maturity of the technological solutions available

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Shutterstock\  Olivier Le Queinec

On November 2, 2016, the Climate Action Tracer (CAT) released its analysis of the building sector.  "Constructing the Future:  Will the Building Sector Use its Decarbonisation Tools"  examines specific energy-intensive sectors. It looks at how emissions can be reduced in order to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s warming limit.


The CAT report states that decarbonisation of the building sector plays a key role in achieving the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goals. Yet, “urgent and highly ambitious action” is required to limit emissions to 1.5°C. Consistent measures are necessary for both new building and for existing renovation efforts.


As such, the CAT report recommends rapid scale-up and immediate actions. All new buildings should be zero-energy by 2020 in OECD countries and by 2030 in non-OECD countries and high renovation rates for deep renovation should increase by 5% and 3% respectively of floor space per year.  


The analysis acknowledged the path set by the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and warns that further delays would put additional pressure on emission reductions in other sectors and/or increase the need for negative emissions approaches.