Constructing the future

Will the building sector use its decarbonisation tools?

Published: 02/11/2016

Climate Action Tracker Decarbonation Series

From 1990–2010, emissions from buildings more than doubled, and now represent 20% of global emissions. Under current policies, energy demand from the building sector is expected to be 50% higher in 2050 compared with 2010.

While the technologies required to make new buildings zero-emissions are all available, the sector is not taking up those technologies as fast as it could and renovation rates are low. Delayed action would put pressure on other sectors to cut emissions, or require negative emissions to keep global warming within the Paris Agreement’s temperature limit.

This Climate Action Tracker (CAT) analysis sets out a 1.5˚C-compatible scenario that would see all new buildings zero-energy in the OECD by 2020 and by 2025 in non-OECD countries, combined with very high rates of deep renovation of older buildings. This would enable the sector to almost completely phase out emissions by mid-century, in line with a 1.5°C pathway.

The building sector analysis is the second in the CAT’s decarbonisation series that examines specific energy-intensive sectors. It looks at how emissions can be reduced to be in line with the Paris Agreement’s warming limit.

Find the previous CAT decarbonisation briefing on transport here.

Your contact

Yvonne Deng
Climate Strategies and Policies
Karlien Wouters
Climate Strategies and Policies