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Technology Roadmap : Energy Efficient Building Envelopes

  • Published on February 28, 2014
Current trends in energy supply and use are patently unsustainable – economically, environmentally and socially. Without decisive action, energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will more than double by 2050, and increased fossil energy demand will heighten concerns over the security of supplies. We can and must change our current path, but this will take an energy revolution and low-carbon energy technologies will have a crucial role to play. Energy efficiency, many types of renewable energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS), nuclear power and new transport technologies will all require widespread deployment if we are to sharply reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Every major country and sector of the economy must be involved. The task is urgent if we are to make sure that investment decisions taken now do not saddle us with sub-optimal technologies in the long term. Buildings represent the largest energy-consuming sector in the economy, with over one-third of all energy and half of global electricity consumed there. As a result, they are also responsible for approximately one-third of global carbon emissions. With improvements in economic development and living standards expected to increase as the planet's population grows by 2.5 billion by 2050, energy use in the buildings sector is also set to rise sharply, placing additional pressure on the energy system. Transition to Sustainable Buildings detailed how to achieve deep energy and emissions reduction in the buildings sector through a combination of best available technologies and intelligent public policy. This roadmap, together with the Policy Pathway: Modernising Building Energy Codes, lays out the key actions required to transform how buildings are constructed – which is essential, since they will remain in service for generations to come. It also articulates the actions to pursue the energy efficient refurbishment of the existing building stock, since the majority will still be in service beyond 2050.

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