The world is currently undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in human history. More than half of the global population is now concentrated in urban areas, and by 2060 two thirds of the expected population of 10 billion will live in cities.
These new city dwellers will need housing and services, from schools, offices, and health facilities to airports and train stations.
While there have been worldwide improvements in building sector energy efficiency, as well as growth in renewable energy generating capacity, these have not been nearly enough to offset the increase in emissions from new construction. As a result, building sector CO2 emissions have continued to rise by nearly 1% per year since 2010.
We now have a critical window of opportunity, as well as the necessary tools needed to address this massive amount of new construction before its operating emissions are locked-in for decades to come.
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 – all new construction must be designed to high energy efficiency standards and use no CO2-emitting fossil fuel energy to operate.