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C40 Cities: Urban Efficiency II

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Seven Innovative City Programmes for Existing Building Energy Efficiency



This second report in the C40 Cities Urban Efficiency series, building on research started in its predecessor Urban Efficiency: A Global Survey of Building Energy Efficiency Policies in Cities, sets out to generate a detailed understanding into differing approaches taken in C40 cities -specifically those in the Private Building Efficiency (PBE) network-  to advance operational energy efficiency and retrofitting in existing private buildings.


Apart from seeking to unpack important aspects of each programme’s functioning, the authors aim to build knowledge on success factors that can be designed into programmes, and also, innovative measures for coping with various obstacles and limiting factors.  


Urban Efficiency II provides valuable information and insights into various approaches for governing energy and sustainability challenges in the existing building stock. In addition to this understanding, the authors hope that their findings regarding strategies for increasing chances of success, and overcoming obstacles when encountered, will help other policymakers around the world to design and implement programmes more effectively.


Overall, the report may be broken down into the following two sections:


Chapter 2: Key findings and overall analysis


This collates the key findings from seven individual case studies conducted by the authors. It follows roughly the same focus and structure used in the individual case studies.


Chapter 3: Detailed case studies


The collection of the seven case studies showcases innovative city programmes from Boston, Chicago, London, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Seoul and Tokyo. Each case provides an in-depth look at multiple dimensions of policy design and implementation. They adhere to the same analytical structure and examine areas such as:


  • The background and context of building energy efficiency polices in that city
  • Key and innovative attributes and mechanisms driving the programme
  • Incentives driving building sector participation
  • Processes by which the programme was designed and implemented
  • Key impacts
  • Drivers, challenges and useful countermeasures


Key findings


The report's findings unearthed a wide array of approaches. These ranged from carbon reporting and disclosure (Tokyo), large scale urban transformation (Shenzhen), finance support (Boston and Seoul), leadership programmes and energy reduction challenges (Chicago and London) and building certification schemes (Mexico City). Although at first glance these may appear as unique approaches with little in common, the report's analysis draws attention to similar policy functions that run across programmes. In the authors' survey of the seven programmes, a noteworthy feature was that the majority were voluntary (or contained a voluntary component).


A further interesting feature was that some of these voluntary programmes were targeting several thousand buildings, whilst others focused on capacity enhancement and intimate relationship building with relatively smaller and select participant cohorts



For further information or to access the report, please visit the relevant C40 Cities webpages at the links below. See also the relevant BUILD UP Notes.