Last December, 195 nations from around the world came together in Paris and forged a historic agreement to act collectively to reduce human impact on the climate. Leading into the U.N. Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP21), countries developed Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining what actions each will take to reduce national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
World Resources Institute (WRI) evaluated the 167 INDCs that were submitted in advance of COP21 with an eye toward building efficiency commitments. It found that less than one-third of the countries included details on how they would use building energy efficiency measures as a means to reduce emissions. The INDCs that highlight increased building efficiency as an emissions mitigation measure plan do so through myriad traditional and innovative measures. For example, the United States is seeking to reduce emissions attributable to the building sector by promulgating a large number of energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment, as well as making energy code determinations for the commercial and residential building sectors.
We know that building efficiency is a low-cost, high-benefit approach to reducing GHG emissions. We have many resources available for national and local governments considering green building policies to leverage this key tool to realize building efficiency. Expanding on the WRI review, USGBC has pulled together information on the building efficiency plans in INDCs for a selected set of countries. Through our work with WRI and other partners on the U.N.'s Sustainable Energy for All Building Efficiency Accelerator, and with UNEP and others on the 10YFP Sustainable Building and Construction Programme, we look forward to supporting these and additional countries in further developing and implementing building efficiency to meet their Paris commitments.