World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Energy efficiency in buildings - business realities and opportunities

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: encouraging interdependence, making energy more
valued and transforming behavior.

The 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 EEB Project covers six countries or regions that are together responsible for two-thirds of world energy demand, including developed & developing countries and a range of climates: Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the United States. The project has brought together leading companies in the building industry1 (see pages 36-37) to tackle this vitally important subject. This group has bridged isolated specialist “silos” to develop a cross-industry view of energy efficiency & to identify the approaches that can be used to transform energy performance.

Many organizations, both public and private, are working on building sustainability. This project aims to complement them by providing a business perspective and developing practical action for property developers, regulators, energy providers and suppliers of products and services to the building industry.

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