In addition to the unprecedented growth in the global building sector, nearly two-thirds of the building area that exist today will still exist in 2050. Therefore, any transition to low-carbon/carbon neutral built environment must address both new construction and existing buildings.
While many cities have made public commitments for carbon emissions reduction, few if any have comprehensive plans for meeting their commitments, nor are they addressing reduction strategies with those that address the pressing issues of resiliency and equity.
The problem lies in how quickly building decarbonization solutions are being deployed. Even with significant growth in cities, new construction contributes only a small portion of highly efficient buildings to the overall building stock per year. Similarly, building renovations currently affect only 0.5-1% of the building stock annually, signaling a slow pace of change for the building sector.
In order to achieve the target set by the Paris Agreement – to limit the rise in global average temperature to below the 2 degree C threshold – a significant increase in the rate and depth of existing building energy efficiency renovations and the generation and procurement of renewable energy (energy upgrades) is required.