Why Buildings Hold the Key To a Low-Carbon Future

(Paris, France – 25th of June 2013) – The GBPN Policy Paper released today, Buildings for our Future – The Deep Path for Closing the Emissions Gap in the Building Sector, provides evidence that implementing ambitious performance building policies can achieve deep reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. It also opens new dialogue on the role and importance of improved energy performance of buildings in today’s global and national discussions about energy and climate change policies.
”We recently passed a grim milestone with the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere topping 400 parts per million at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The ‘business as usual’ scenario is no longer acceptable, we have no choice but to act ‘Deep’ and transform our current policy frameworks within the next 10 years,” said Peter Graham, GBPN Executive Director. “The buildings sector offers the most cost-effective mitigation potential and must become the focus for climate change policymakers,” continued Peter Graham. 
“Governments can take the lead by creating the right policy frameworks, and businesses can develop and implement energy efficient techniques and apply new skills and business models to improve our global building stock,” said Yvo de Boer, KPMG’s Special Global Advisor, Climate Change & Sustainability.
Buildings for our Future demonstrates that by 2050 it is possible to reduce building energy use by nearly a quarter of that of today and related CO2 emissions by one third by using today’s most advanced techniques and technologies. It will require widespread adoption of today’s state of the art policies and technologies including net-zero or positive energy requirements for new buildings and more and deeper energy efficient renovation of the existing building stock.
This report, developed in partnership with KPMG, brings together analysis commissioned by the GBPN over the past year, identifying the building sector’s mitigation potential in the GBPN’s four regions – China, Europe, India and the United States – together with a review and analysis of best practice policies that, if effectively applied globally, could pave the way to that transformation to the "Deep Path" to deliver the buildings sector’s mitigation potential. The report also raises concerns about risks of the “lock in” effect that could delay major energy savings and emissions reductions for decades if we do not act quickly. 
Buildings for our Future sets out the necessary steps towards a “Deep” market transformation: First, define the "Deep Path" agenda by analysing the mitigation potential of buildings in a jurisdiction, and identifying the environmental, cost-benefits and co-benefits of applicable state-of-the art policy packages. Second, all stakeholders need to be engaged, involved and fully committed. Third, develop policy roadmaps adapted to each region to guide the implementation process. Fourth, implement a "Deep Path" agenda for the next decade. Finally, it is critical to ensure that all elements are well monitored, evaluated and adapted to ensure maximum effectiveness.
In Buildings for our Future, the GBPN has raised the challenge for countries to follow the "Deep Path" for closing the emissions gap in the building sector and describes how to pro-actively take the practical steps to build global collaboration. “There is a lot to learn from proven examples of policy best practices. By sharing these best practices globally and adapting and implementing locally, GBPN offers a new approach to strategic planning and collaboration to achieve the CO2 mitigation potential of the building sector”, said Peter Graham. "Through the GBPN and its regional hubs, policymakers around the world will be able to learn about the most advanced policies that put us on the path towards deep energy reductions in buildings", said Yvo de Boer. 
Download the PDF of the Policy Paper or view the interactive PDF online here.  

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About this Report: 

Buildings for Our Future is the culmination of two major studies commissioned by the GBPN:
- Building Energy Efficiency: Best Practice Policies and Policy Packages, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), United States, October 2012
- Best Practice Policies for Low Carbon & Energy Buildings Based on Scenario Analysis, Central European University (CEU) Centre for Climate Change and Energy Policy (3CSEP), Hungary, May 2012
The Sustainability Team at KPMG supported the GBPN during the preparation of this report.