Global Roadmap Towards low-GHG and Resilient Buildings

GABC Global Roadmap title page.png


Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction


Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction & UN Environment

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Objective: This Roadmap aims to describe, when possible, the main overarching goals, steps and agenda that the Building sector as a whole could share, creating the framework of a common vision for low GHG and resilient global real estate pathways. The purpose of this Roadmap is to set up a collective framework for the building and construction sector to match the climate related objectives set out in the Paris Agreement, i.e. for the world to stay well below 2°C and to be carbon neutral in the second half of this century. Not meant to be prescriptive, the can help policy makers when designing their national building and climate strategies, as well as organisations in designing their long-term and medium-term policies and determining their investments allocations.

Guiding Principles of the Roadmap 1. Energy efficiency first: reduce the energy demand from the building sector to its minimal level to increase access, comfort. 2. The need to take immediate action, given the investment cycles in buildings. 3. The links with upstream energy and emissions, as electricity and heat have to be taken into account. 4. The diversity of national circumstances has to be taken into account in setting global policies and technical goals for the built environment. 5. Effective integration of all levels of government remains a key component to unlocking cohesive policies, strategies and plans in the building and construction sector. Key Steps to energy-efficient, low-GHG and resilient real estate. Read the Roadmap to learn about quick wins and financial and policy mechanisms for accomplishing the key steps. 1. Implement urban planning policies for energy efficiency 2. Accelerate the improvement of existing buildings’ performance 3. All new buildings achieve nearly net zero operating emission performances 4. Improve the management of all buildings 5. Decarbonised energy: decarbonise the energy and power supply for buildings load 6. Reduced embodied energy and GHG emissions: reduce environmental impacts (life cycle approach) of materials and equipment: manufacture (extraction included), transport, maintenance, use and end-of-life 7. Reduce energy demand from appliances 8. Reduced climate change related risks for buildings: upgrade adaptation Key Facts You'll Find: • Energy use in buildings represents roughly one-third of global final energy consumption, half of global electricity consumption, and accounts for nearly 20% of the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions worldwide. • Growing population, as well as rapid growth in purchasing power in emerging economies and many developing countries, means that energy demand in buildings could increase by 50% by 2050 • Construction of new buildings will also drive energy demand and buildings-related emissions, with global floor area in buildings expected to double to more than 415 billion square metres (m²) by 2050 • Buildings will also be particularly affected by the effects of climate change: storms, flooding and seepages, reduced durability of some building materials and increased risk of structure damage or collapse (e.g. from severe storms) could all decrease building lifetime, while increasing health-related risks such as deteriorating indoor climate. • The building sector is a both traditional and innovative industry: it accounts for between 5 and 10 % of the national GDP of each and every state in the world. Buildings are also assets that represent 50% of global wealth. • the building and construction sector is a major employer with 10% of the employment of the workforce. • The sector is fragmented: the activity of the building sector is a highly “local” and the sector is a “low concentrated” industry, with no large businesses having control of the value chain, and it has low entry barriers facilitating the fragmentation of the value chain. • Building GHG emissions are generated by all the following emission sources: o direct emission sources from buildings o indirect emissions sources from building energy consumption o Buildings’ indirect emissions from other sources, such as embedded emissions from building materials and the GHG emissions generated by urban planning decisions (e.g. unnecessary travel or traffic induced by building location). • The building sector has an influence on three other main sectors having an impact on climate change: o Energy o Transport o Coastal sand extraction • Buildings professionals are the main responsible for the level of energy demand of buildings (i.e. the building envelope* determines the energy demand that has to be satisfied by building equipment, such as boilers for heat and fans for air flow). • Business as usual building materials can be very carbon-intensive and environmentally-destructive. o Coastal sand extraction: to build with concrete, there is a need to extract each year 30 billion tons of sand (UN Environment, 2014), equivalent to nearly 4 tonnes per person. The majority of this sand is extracted in river and coastal areas, which increases the vulnerabilities of coastlines, where an important part of human settlements is located. o Even if embodied GHG in building materials do represent 15-20% of the total lifecycle GHG emissions of a building, the production of construction materials represents a significant proportion of total GHG emissions (figures range between 8-15% of total GHG emissions for concrete, steel and bricks, whose cement represents 3%). • Decisions for significant works on buildings are often motivated by numerous factors, including patrimonial value, adaptation to change of uses and improvement in comfort.

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GABC Global Roadmap Website 14April2017....