The building sector is responsible for 36% of global emissions or roughly equivalent to those of the whole of China, must operate at zero carbon emissions by 2050 if global warming is to remain under two degrees Celsius, the limit in the Paris Climate Agreement. New standards require greater energy conservation, energy efficiency, and some renewable energy.
Zero Carbon Emissions – Every Building on Earth by 2050
A new report from the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), states there are currently 500 net zero commercial buildings and 2,000 net zero homes around the globe (under 1/10 per cent of all buildings worldwide), requiring a monumental and coordinated effort by businesses, governments and nongovernmental organisations to bring the building sector within striking distance of Paris Climate Agreement targets.
The report defines zero carbon emissions as highly energy-efficient buildings which generate or supply the energy they need to operate from renewable sources to achieve net zero carbon emissions, and lays out specific actions that the private sector, governments and NGOs can take to ensure all new buildings operate at zero carbon net energy by 2030 and that all existing buildings are renovated to operate at net zero carbon by 2050.
“We need nothing short of a dramatic and ambitious transformation from a world of thousands of net zero carbon emissions buildings, to one of billions if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council. “Businesses, governments and NGOs hold the key to this transformation, but they must commit to aggressive action. It is possible to create a world in which every single building produces zero carbon emissions, but we must start today.”
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The International Energy Agency, (IEA), estimates that the current global building stock needs explosive growth of 1000-fold by 2035. According to the Global Alliance for Building and Construction, current renovation rates amount to less than one per cent of the existing building stock each year. To achieve universal zero carbon net energy in the built sector by 2050, renovation rates must increase by 3 percent every year starting in 2017, and must accelerate for every year of delay. New construction of zero carbon emissions buildings is doubling every two years currently.
Net zero energy buildings not only help in the fight against climate change, but can create jobs, improve energy security, and lower energy costs, adds the report. The Canadian Home Builders Association announced on May 30th in Vancouver a National standard for new zero carbon emissions buildings that opens on September 1, 2017. BC released the Building Energy Step Code for achieving net zero carbon energy also in May.