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Buildings

A source of enormous untapped efficiency potential

The buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for 30% of total global final energy consumption and 27% of total energy sector emissions. Energy demand from buildings and buildings construction continues to rise, driven by improved access to energy in developing countries, growing demand for air conditioning in tropical countries, greater ownership and use of energy-consuming appliances, and rapid growth in global buildings floor area.

Key findings

Global energy and process emissions from buildings, including embodied emissions from new construction, 2021

Openexpand

Global CO2 emissions from the operation of buildings rebounded in 2021 to above 2019 levels

In 2021 direct and indirect emissions from buildings operation rebounded to about 10 Gt, or 2% higher than in 2019 and about 5% higher than 2020. The growth of direct emissions occurred in both advanced and emerging economies, although it was principally driven by growing natural gas demand in emerging economies.

To align with the Net Zero Scenario, carbon emissions from buildings operations need to more than halve by 2030, requiring significant efforts to reduce energy demand through clean and efficient technologies in all end uses, including leveraging the potential of behavioural change (such as changing thermostat set points).
Our work

The EBC TCP, created in 1977, carries out research and development efforts towards near-zero energy and carbon emissions in the built environment. Activities under the EBC TCP focus on the integration of energy-efficient and sustainable technologies into healthy buildings and communities.

The DHC TCP conducts research and development as well as policy analysis and international co-operation to increase the market penetration of district heating and cooling systems with low environmental impact.

The aims of the 4E TCP are to promote energy efficiency as the key to ensuring safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy systems. As an international platform for collaboration between governments, the 4E TCP provides policy guidance to its members and other governments concerning energy using equipment and systems. The 4E TCP prioritises technologies and applications with significant energy consumption and energy saving potential within the residential, commercial and industrial sectors (not including transport). To meet its aims, the 4E TCP harnesses the expertise of governments, industry, experts and other TCPs for joint research related to the development and deployment of energy efficient equipment.

The mission of the Energy Storage TCP is to facilitate research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. Storage technologies are a central component in energy-efficient and sustainable energy systems. Energy storage is a cross-cutting issue that relies on expert knowledge of many disciplines. The Energy Storage TCP fosters widespread experience, synergies and cross-disciplinary co-ordination of working plans and research goals.

The HPT TCP functions as an international framework of co-operation and knowledge exchange for the different stakeholders in the field of heat pumping technologies used for heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration in buildings, industries, thermal grids and other applications. The mission of the HPT TCP is to accelerate the transformation to an efficient, renewable, clean and secure energy sector in its member countries and beyond through collaboration research, demonstration and data collection and through enabling innovations and deployment in the area of heat pumping technologies.

Through multi-disciplinary international collaborative research and knowledge exchange, as well as market and policy recommendations, the SHC TCP works to increase the deployment rate of solar heating and cooling systems by breaking down the technical and non-technical barriers to increase deployment.