Improved efficiency could cut world’s energy bill by 60%

Energy use in buildings could be slashed by over 60% by 2050 according to modeling carried out by a global organisation set up to promote sustainable development, but immediate action would be required from the construction sector to achieve this goal.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) claims to have carried out the most rigorous study ever into energy efficiency in buildings, taking four years and $15m to complete.

The report says that if the political will and appetite for change in the private sector can be found, dramatic cuts to energy consumption could be made over the next four decades.

“Energy efficiency is fast becoming one of the defining issues of our times, and buildings are that issue’s ‘elephant in the room’.

“Buildings use more energy than any other sector and as such are a major contributor to climate change,” said Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD.

“Unless there is immediate action, thousands of new buildings will be built without any concern for energy efficiency, and millions of existing, inefficient buildings using more energy than necessary will still be standing in 2050.

“Acting now means reducing their energy consumption and making real progress in controlling climate change.

“The market alone will not be able to make the necessary changes. Most building owners and occupants don’t know enough and don’t care enough about energy consumption, and inertia is reinforced by assumptions that costs are too high and savings too low.

“That’s why we are calling for a major, coordinated and global effort. If we can create that, we will cut greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic growth at the same time.”

Sam Bond

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