The energy consumption of houses and buildings not including electricity consumption is responsible for 7,9% of the annual greenhouse gas emissions
THE CURRENT SITUATION
Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector arise from on-site energy generation and burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in homes. (Emissions from electricity use are excluded and are instead covered in the Energy Supply sector.)
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The household and commercial buildings sector contributes up to 30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions when you include the consumption of electricity.
Given the massive growth in new construction, if nothing is done, greenhouse gas emissions from buildings will more than double in the next 20 years. Therefore, if targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction are to be met, it is clear that decision-makers must tackle emissions from the building sector.
The world needs to look for cost-efficient ways to make the economy more climate-friendly and less energy-consuming. The building sector has the most potential for delivering significant and cost-effective GHG mission reductions. Countries will not meet emission reduction targets without supporting energy efficiency gains in the building sector.
The future is a low-carbon society where we will live and work in low-energy, low-emission buildings with intelligent heating and cooling systems. Energy efficiency will be a key driver of the transition.
Green building techniques and retrofits can allow new and existing buildings to become more energy efficient offer a large opportunity leading to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Techniques to improve building energy efficiency include better insulation; more energy-efficient heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration systems; efficient fluorescent lighting; passive heating and lighting to take advantage of sunlight; and the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
Major barriers exist which slow down the investment towards energy efficiency improvements in buildings, such as the high upfront costs of investment, the lack of access to finance, the limitations of the typical existing building designs and administrative and regulatory obstacles.
Global Gateways waste to energy plants offer an incredible opportunity to locally provide energy efficiency measures which include a combination of building retrofits and an energy network for the supply of district heating and cooling. This method not only reduces the amount of energy consumed by each building, but it also reduces the cost of the energy which is consumed, as the district heating network will offer the thermal energy at a lower cost than if the building were to use electrical energy to achieve the same result. Energy savings achieved through building upgrades combined with a district heating and cooling thermal energy network can surpass 50% in many cases, helping to speed up the return on investment from the retrofits.
On 25 October 2012, the EU adopted Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency. This Directive established a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union, Global Gateways will work with national and European institutions to provide sufficient incentives and financing to households and businesses in order to overcome the barriers to the uptake of energy efficiency improvements to buildings, including financing of upfront investment costs.
One of the solutions to be provided by Global Gateways in coordination with European institutions is the provision of energy efficiency funds for the improvement of buildings energy footprint, this solution would happen under a opt out model, where investments would be paid over time from the savings in the energy bills achieved by the energy efficiency upgrades of buildings and the supply of thermal energy through the district heating networks.