Climate Change: Implications for Buildings

A new briefing published by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) distils the key findings from the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report for the building sector.

The briefing concludes that:

  • In 2010, the world’s buildings accounted for 32% of global final energy use and 19% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under business-as-usual projections, use of energy in buildings globally could double or even triple by 2050.
  • Widespread implementation of best practices and technologies could see energy use in buildings stabilise or even fall by 2050. Many mitigation options promise multiple co-benefits.
  • Know-how exists on retrofitting and how to build very low- and zero-energy buildings, often at little marginal investment cost; and there is a broad portfolio of effective policy instruments available to remove barriers to uptake.
  • Buildings face major risks of damage from the projected impacts of climate change, having already experienced a big increase in extreme weather damage in recent decades.

The Buildings summary is one of a series of thirteen, based upon The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

AR5 represents the most comprehensive overview of climate science to date and is the fact base that will utilised by governments and businesses

to formulate climate policy in the coming years. The set of summaries cover the broad implications of climate change, how the IPCCC works and give an overview of the physical science, as well as adaptation and mitigation options. The summaries, in addition to buildings, cover the energy sector, investors and financial institutions, the transport sector, the tourism industry, defence, fisheries and aquaculture, the agriculture sector, primary industries, cities and employment.

This publication has been developed and released by BPIE, GBPN, WBCSD, CISL, CJBS and ECF.

For more information and to download the report, please visit the CISL webpage.