Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Business Realities and Opportunities

This study highlights opportunities to promote green building know-how and technologies as the WBCSD pushes for zero net energy construction worldwide through its Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB) project. Zero net energy buildings will reduce demand by design, be highly efficient and generate at least as much energy as they consume.

Buildings are responsible for at least 40% of energy use in most countries. The absolute figure is rising fast, as construction booms, especially in countries such as China and India. It is essential to act now, because buildings can make a major contribution to tackling climate change and energy use.

Progress can begin immediately because knowledge and technology exist today to slash the energy buildings use, while at the same time improving levels of comfort. Behavioral, organizational and financial barriers stand in the way of immediate action, and three approaches can help overcome them:

  • Encourage interdependence by adopting holistic, integrated approaches among the stakeholders that assure a shared responsibility and accountability toward improved energy performance in buildings and their communities
  • Make energy more valued by those involved in the development, operation and use of buildings
  • Transform behavior by educating and motivating the professionals involved in building transactions to alter their course toward improved energy efficiency in buildings.
  • The EEB project summarizes these findings in this, its first year report on facts and trends having to do with energy efficiency in buildings.

This report combines the findings from existing research and stakeholder dialogues during hearings, workshops, and forums with a breakthrough market research study that measures the stakeholder perceptions of sustainable buildings around the world.

The report sets out to establish a baseline of current facts and trends that will be used in the coming months in scenario planning and modeling approaches to assess the needed and prioritized actions for change to affect buildings’ energy consumption.

In the final year (by mid-2009), the project will seek to gain commitments to actions by the various stakeholders involved with the building sector, including those of the project itself.

The WBCSD's Energy Efficiency in Buildings Project is a three year initiative to assess the environmental impacts of buildings and develop means to achieve zero net energy use for residential and commercial buildings.

The EEB project covers six countries or regions that are together responsible for two-thirds of world energy demand, including developed and developing countries and a range of climates: Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the United States.

The project is co-chaired by Lafarge and United Technologies Corporation. Other participating companies are CEMEX, DuPont, Electricité de France, Gaz de France, Kansai, Philips, Sonae Sierra, and Tepco.

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