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Building sector must change to meet global energy targets, new study finds


HARTFORD, Conn. – In the most rigorous study ever on the subject, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) demonstrates how to achieve a 60 percent reduction in the energy use of buildings by 2050 to help meet global climate change targets.

To reach ambitious carbon footprint reduction goals set by the widely recognized Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the building sector must undergo a transformation toward greater energy efficiency through a combination of public policies, technological innovation, informed customer choices, and smart business decisions. Supported by specific implementation steps, this is the central message from the WBCSD’s Energy Efficiency in Buildings report, “Transforming the Market: Energy Efficiency in Buildings.”

United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) and Lafarge (Euronext Paris: LG), which co-chaired the study, presented the report in Paris today at the Alliance to Save Energy’s EE Global Forum and Exposition. The report is also being released in Washington, D.C., and Beijing.

“Buildings worldwide account for a surprisingly high 40 percent of global energy consumption and the resulting carbon footprint, significantly exceeding those of all transportation combined. Large and attractive opportunities to reduce energy use in buildings exist,” said UTC Chairman George David. “Differing markedly from other sectors and carbon abatement mechanisms, energy efficiency technologies and products for buildings exist today. We have the capacity to reduce the carbon footprints of buildings by half over a decade and with reasonable financial returns,” he added.

The project took a data intense and financially and market driven approach to understanding the barriers to reduced energy use, based on the most detailed view ever of the current state of energy demand in buildings. Researchers analyzed energy use by building type for hundreds of millions of existing and new buildings projected out to 2050 and accounting for differences such as climate, fuel type, and building design. Refined through an extensive simulation model, the study showed market responses to various combinations of financial, technical, behavioral, and policy options, identifying the optimum mix to achieve transformation for each market studied.

Full details of the EEB proposed “transformation roadmap” for the building sector can be found in the report, available in English on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development website at A printed copy and multiple language versions will also be available over the coming months.


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