Energy efficiency is a measure of how much of the available energy is put to use in a given project. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has started the Sustainable Energy program, with an aim to increase the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. Efficient buildings are important for achieving sustainable development as they align social, economic and environmental objectives. However, the scale and pace of ongoing actions around the world is insufficient to convert buildings into an engine of the sustainable energy and efficient economy. Government policies can propel the adoption of energy efficiency measures in buildings.
The energy efficient building market can be segmented on the basis of residential, commercial and industrial sector. Energy efficiency sector represents more than USD 30 billion in potential energy savings in the commercial building sector alone. Building consumes nearly 40 percent of global energy and it has a significant burden on household and business budgets. Increasing energy productivity through measures like building efficiency has the capability to decrease the growth of energy demand in developing countries by more than half by 2020. By 2020, global energy demand is forecasted to rise by 2.2 % every year and majority of the share occupied by developing economies. Investments in building efficiency can free up scarce resources for other purposes.
Buildings require large quantities of raw materials such as water, energy and construction materials that compete with various other sectors of the economy for these scarce resources. The environmental impact can be minimized with energy efficient buildings that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are environmentally sound while selection of the materials and waste management. In addition these energy efficient buildings contribute to a better indoor and outdoor air quality leading to healthy environment. Further, efficient buildings can improve the quality of life of millions of people because they of improved comfort and proper ventilation. Energy efficiency can stretch existing electricity resources further by providing better energy access, reliability and security in remote areas.
Sustainable development offers us today and the generations to come the triple benefits of social equity, environmental protection and economic progress. Building efficiency is vital for sustainable development as it aligns economic, social and environmental objectives by increasing energy productivity, greening urbanization, water and materials efficiency, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the quality of the building. Energy efficient buildings help in achieving sustainable development goals through the cooperation of industries and governments. By making policies, prioritizing life-cycle and performance metrics and engaging in more integrated planning processes, design and construction of buildings can contribute to national and urban sustainability goals.
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