Upgrade existing buildings and design new buildings to maximize energy efficiency and greatly reduce operational and embodied carbon emissions.
Buildings are responsible for nearly 40 percent of global emissions, with 28 percent of that consisting of ongoing operational emissions. Any transition to a low- or zero-carbon built environment must include a plan for the existing buildings. Some estimates suggest that up to 80 percent of all buildings in 2030 will require retrofits to improve their energy efficiency. Retrofits typically refer to upgrades in heating, cooling, insulation, windows, lighting, and a switch to renewable energy. As it stands, annual energy retrofit rates in buildings are currently less than 1 percent in most countries. The untapped potential in retrofitting, upgrading, and renovating existing buildings is tremendous. Not only do we have a chance at eliminating 28 percent of global emissions, but we also have the opportunity to save billions of dollars for building and homeowners, reduce the cost burden of utilities for low-income families, and also create more well-paid jobs than any other energy sector.