27 April 2009

Energy Use in Buildings Can Be Cut by 60 Percent, WBCSD Study Says

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announced the results of a study that shows how energy use in buildings can be cut by 60 percent by 2050, but noted that it will require immediate action to transform the building sector.

The four-year, $15 million research project released its report today in Paris at the Alliance to Save Energy’s EE Global Forum and Exposition. Transforming the Market: Energy Efficiency in Buildings, as the report is known, uses new modeling techniques and provides a roadmap to transform the building sector.

"Energy efficiency is fast becoming one of the defining issues of our times, and buildings are that issue's 'elephant in the room'," said Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD, in a press release. "Buildings use more energy than any other sector and as such are a major contributor to climate change."

According to the WBCSD, the "project took a bottom-up, market-driven approach to understanding the barriers to lower energy use, based on the most detailed view ever of the current state of energy demand in buildings. Energy use by building type was analyzed for millions of existing and new buildings and projected out to 2050, accounting for differences such as climate and building design."

Researchers used computer simulations to show the market response to various financial, technical, behavioral, and policy options, identifying the optimum mix to achieve transformation for each market studied, according to WBCSD.

The project's report makes six principle recommendations:

  • Strengthen building codes and energy labeling for increased transparency.
  • Use subsidies and price signals to create incentives for energy-efficient investments.
  • Encourage integrated design approaches and innovations.
  • Develop and use advanced technology to enable energy-saving behavior.
  • Develop workforce capacity for energy saving.
  • Mobilize for an energy-aware culture. (Whatever that means - GS)

The full report is available on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development website: EEB Report