Building impact grows
Emissions from buildings and construction have hit a new high.
The building and construction sector’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions have rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic to an all-time high, a new report finds.
The 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction finds that the sector accounted for over 34 per cent of energy demand and around 37 per cent of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.
The sector’s operational energy-related CO2 emissions reached ten gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent - five per cent over 2020 levels and two per cent over the pre-pandemic peak in 2019. In 2021, operational energy demand for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment in buildings increased by around four per cent from 2020 and three per cent from 2019.
This, according to the report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), means that the gap between the climate performance of the sector and the 2050 decarbonisation pathway is widening.
“Years of warnings about the impacts of climate change have become a reality,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
“If we do not rapidly cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, we will be in deeper trouble.
"The building sector represents 40 per cent of Europe’s energy demand, 80 per cent of it from fossil fuels. This makes the sector an area for immediate action, investment, and policies to promote short and long-term energy security”
Experts say that decarbonising the buildings sector by 2050 is critical to delivering needed cuts.
To reduce overall emissions, the sector is encouraged to improve building energy performance, decrease building materials’ carbon footprint, multiply policy commitments alongside action and increase investment in energy efficiency.