The houses in which we live and the commercial buildings in which we work significantly impact on our environment. It concerns the space they occupy, the materials used for construction and maintenance, and the energy required for heating, cooling, and cooking, among other things.
It is estimated that buildings use about 40% of global energy, 25% of global water, 40% of global resources. They are also responsible for approximately 33% of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Yet, buildings also offer great potential for achieving significant GHG emission reductions in developed and developing countries. Energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 30 to 80% using proven and commercially available technologies. Many buildings are poorly insulated and rely on fossil fuels for their energy needs. Construction materials – such as concrete – have a large CO2 footprint and opportunities for recyling of water and building materials are often not utilized.
The sustainable solutions we look for reduce a building’s energy and material footprint, make use of renewable energy and construction materials, or integrate housing in various ecosystems. We also highlight initiatives and policies that stimulate sustainable building practices.
See below the solutions for sustainable buildings we have visited.