United Nations Environment Programme environment for development

Why Buildings?

More than 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are buildings- related, and emissions could double
by 2050 if we carry on business as
usual. Not changing increases risks and vulnerability of countries, regions and local communities from climate change. Rapid urbanization could accelerate impacts. Yet:

  • The buildings sector offers one of the most cost-effective and economically beneficial paths for reducing energy demand and associated emissions while at the same time supporting adaptation and resilience to climate change.
  • Many low-energy, renewable and deep- renovation solutions are available. Proven policy, finance and technology actions exist.
  • The economic, health, and social benefits of sustainable buildings are significant. Buildings provide shelter, places to live, work, learn and socialize, directly affecting our daily lives. Providing more than 50 per cent of global wealth, and one of the largest employers at local level, the sector also offers a path to poverty alleviation.
  • Buildings are long-term ventures. Today’s new buildings are tomorrow’s existing stock. Failure to act now would lock in growth in GHG emissions for decades.