UNEP SBCI
 
 

Why Buildings

Buildings use about 40% of global energy, 25% of global water, 40% of global resources, and they emit approximately 1/3 of GHG emissions.

Yet, buildings also offer the greatest potential for achieving significant GHG emission reductions, at least cost, in developed and developing countries. Furthermore, energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by 30 to 80% using proven and commercially available technologies.

Key Facts

  • The building sector is estimated to be worth 10% of global GDP (USD7.5 trillion) and employs 111 million people.

  • Residential and commercial buildings consume approximately 60% of the world’s electricity.

  • Existing buildings represent significant energy saving opportunities because their performance level is frequently far below current efficiency potentials.

  • The building sector is the largest contributor to global GHG emissions.

  • In developing countries, new green construction yields enormous opportunities. Population growth, prosperity and increasing urbanization fuel building and construction activities, which represent up to 40% of GDP.

  • Investment in building energy efficiency is accompanied by significant direct and indirect savings, which help offset incremental costs, providing a short return on investment period.

  • Building sustainably will result in healthier and more productive environments.