Buildings

Tracking Clean Energy Progress

🕐 Last updated Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Not on track

Emissions from buildings appear to have peaked in 2013, although their energy consumption rebounded slightly in 2017 as the equivalent to the current floor area of Germany was added to the global building stock. Buildings, which were responsible for almost a third of final energy consumption last year, remain off track to meet the SDS target. The energy and emissions savings potential remains largely untapped because of continued use of less efficient technologies, lack of effective policies and weak investments in sustainable buildings.


Buildings sector CO2 emissions

Buildings emissions appear to have peaked in 2013, but need to fall faster to meet SDS goals.

	Buildings sector emissions
2000	7.48
2001	7.63
2002	7.80
2003	8.13
2004	8.32
2005	8.57
2006	8.63
2007	8.87
2008	8.97
2009	8.90
2010	9.22
2011	9.18
2012	9.32
2013	9.53
2014	9.48
2015	9.15
2016	9.03
2025	7.50
2030	6.07
            
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Note: Includes indirect emissions.

Final energy use by buildings grew from 2 835 Mtoe in 2010 to nearly 3 000 Mtoe in 2017, while the share of fossil fuel use in buildings sector energy demand decreased slightly to around 36%. As a result, direct emissions from buildings stayed just under 2.9 GtCO2 per year as they had been since 2010.

When indirect emissions due to energy use from upstream power generation are taken into account, buildings were responsible for 28% of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2017, or 9.0 GtCO2.

Global annual buildings-related carbon emissions appear to have peaked in 2013, at least temporarily, at a high of about 9.5 GtCO2. But the drop in recent years is largely due to progress in reducing the carbon intensity of power generation.


Building sector energy intensity

Change in total final energy used per m2 in the buildings sector.

	Middle East	Latin America	Africa	Other Asia	OECD Americas	OECD Europe	OECD Pacific	World	Eurasia	China	India
2000	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0	100.0
2001	103.4	98.1	99.1	99.7	96.0	103.8	98.0	97.4	97.5	90.1	97.8
2002	104.1	98.0	98.7	98.3	97.9	100.2	99.7	95.2	92.6	83.6	95.4
2003	102.8	98.0	98.8	97.6	98.2	102.7	97.0	95.2	93.6	83.0	94.1
2004	106.5	97.5	98.3	96.6	95.7	101.7	97.3	94.0	90.3	83.8	92.4
2005	110.0	98.6	97.8	94.6	94.3	101.1	97.2	91.6	84.2	79.6	89.6
2006	114.6	97.7	97.0	93.0	88.9	99.2	92.8	89.4	84.9	79.2	86.5
2007	115.2	98.8	96.4	92.0	91.6	92.6	92.3	88.0	83.6	76.8	85.0
2008	108.1	95.7	95.4	90.2	90.8	96.4	88.2	86.7	82.4	72.4	84.0
2009	108.4	94.9	94.0	89.2	87.2	92.9	88.3	84.1	76.7	70.9	83.9
2010	105.9	96.4	92.1	88.3	87.6	97.2	88.9	84.6	77.0	71.8	79.9
2011	104.6	94.4	92.6	87.2	86.2	86.7	85.6	82.0	78.6	71.2	78.0
2012	99.3	95.3	92.8	87.9	81.6	89.4	84.3	80.9	74.7	71.8	77.4
2013	102.9	95.8	92.4	86.8	85.9	89.2	85.4	81.4	72.4	72.8	75.8
2014	103.0	97.9	92.5	86.3	87.1	79.6	81.4	80.1	74.0	73.6	74.1
2015	105.6	97.3	91.7	86.0	83.8	80.2	79.1	79.1	72.8	74.0	72.9
2016	106.6	95.9	90.1	86.6	82.8	78.6	78.1	77.2	72.6	68.5	70.0
2017	106.1	95.2	89.0	85.0	81.1	76.8	76.1	75.7	71.1	68.0	67.6
                
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Buildings sector energy intensity continues to improve by 1.5% a year. Yet floor area has grown by as much as 2.8% a year since 2000, offsetting those energy intensity improvements. To reach SDS goals by 2030, the annual global rate of energy intensity improvement has to reach 1.9%.

While the increase may seem marginal, it entails that the rate of change needs to double or more in some critical emerging markets, particularly in Africa, Latin America and Asia. A similar rate of change is needed in major developed economies, which need to step up significantly deep energy renovations of existing buildings.

Though the sector continues to fall short of the SDS trajectory, the call to achieve a sustainable buildings sector is increasingly being heard.

As of 2017, 132 countries have explicitly mentioned buildings in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) they had submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Of those, 101 countries pointed to energy-efficiency opportunities to meet emissions reduction targets, and 49 committed to using renewable sources of energy in buildings to improve access to clean energy and endorse adoption of low-carbon energy assets.

At the same time, the majority of NDCs mentioning buildings do not include specific projects or explicit targets related to energy performance standards or efficient building technology deployment. If NDC pledges are taken at face value, ambitions set forth would only cover 13% of global buildings sector CO2 emissions beyond what is already covered by existing policies.

Policy coverage of total final energy consumption in buildings

Despite impressive progress in lighting, the rate of improvement in efficiency policies has diminished.

	Lighting	Space cooling	Space heating	Water heating	Appliances	Total coverage
2000	3	29	28	19	10	17
2001	3	33	31	20	11	18
2002	3	37	32	21	12	19
2003	4	41	34	23	12	21
2004	5	45	36	25	13	21
2005	5	49	37	26	14	22
2006	9	52	38	27	15	23
2007	18	54	39	27	16	24
2008	18	55	41	29	17	25
2009	28	55	43	29	19	26
2010	37	59	45	30	20	28
2011	49	60	46	31	23	29
2012	62	61	47	32	25	31
2013	68	62	50	33	27	34
2014	73	63	50	34	29	34
2015	74	64	50	35	31	35
2016	75	65	51	37	32	36
2017	76	66	53	38	35	38
                      
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Energy efficiency policy progress in buildings continues to improve, with around 38% of buildings energy use covered by policies in 2017, up from 28% in 2010.

Lighting has made the most impressive progress, with three-quarters of energy use now covered by energy-efficiency policies, thanks to a major push to phase out incandescent lamps over the last decade. An increasing number of countries have also added standards and labelling programmes for major appliances since 2010, although policy coverage for the end use remains at only 35%.

Despite the overall upward trend in buildings energy policy coverage, it is worrying that the annual rate of improvement has diminished, from 5-8% in the 2000s to 2-3% in recent years.

Figures for policy coverage do not indicate how stringent polices are. Many policies have not been updated to increase stringency. For example, lighting policies in many countries have not been updated to phase-out halogen lamps.


Buildings sector energy efficiency investments

Investment in sustainable buildings is improving but must rise drastically to meet the SDS goals.

	Other buildings investment	Lighting and appliances	Heating and cooling equipment	Building envelope measures
2017	5091	66	136	330
2025	4726	121	308	1599
2030	4338	147	468	2344
                      
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Unsurprisingly, given the lack of major policy progress and clear market signals, investments for sustainable buildings are lacklustre. Total spending on energy-efficient products and services in buildings was around USD 550 billion in 2017, amounting to 9% of the USD 4.9 trillion spent on buildings and construction, including renovations.

Still, this represents an increase of 10% in energy efficiency investments in the buildings sector since 2016, suggesting that investor confidence in sustainable buildings may be growing.

But to meet the SDS goals by 2030, these investments need to rise drastically, and reach 40% of total buildings and construction spending. Building envelope measures – including near zero energy buildings construction and deep energy renovation of existing buildings – need to increase 3.5-fold by 2030.


Are building sector technologies on track?

Only lighting is on track to meet the SDS goals, while building envelopes and heating are well off track. Cooling and appliances are both showing improvement, but significant policy effort will be needed to put these technologies on track to SDS goals.


Building envelopes

Two-thirds of countries around the world lacked mandatory building energy codes in 2017, meaning that more than the current floor area in the US will be built using less efficient technologies over the coming decade. To meet the SDS target, the number of new high-efficiency buildings being built needs to increase from 75 million m2 today to more than 2 billion m2 by 2030. Deep energy renovation of existing stock also needs to more than double within the coming decade (with the current rate less than 1%).

Read more about building envelopes


Building energy codes and standards by country, 2017


Heating

Sales of heat pumps and renewable heating equipment have continued to increase by around 5% per year since 2010, representing 10% of overall sales in 2017. Fossil-fuel equipment, however, still represents 50% of sales; less-efficient, conventional electric heating equipment represents another 25%. To meet the SDS target, the share of heat pumps, renewable heating and modern district heating needs to triple to reach more than one-third of new sales by 2030.

Read more about heating

	Fossil fuel equipment	Conventional electric equipment	Heat pumps	District heating and cooling	Renewables
2010	169576.9669	73049.0414	6345.585279	29809.009	19468.17398
2011	174225.6775	75331.99328	6417.169468	33140.8274	21735.4034
2012	155544.3014	63020.1935	11326.36532	38714.26735	18362.14746
2013	164658.6619	68820.92502	7895.760218	34826.59973	20929.04692
2014	163074.851	67980.84075	7193.753651	43989.04885	23056.28776
2015	156270.7976	74888.36028	7094.930737	42757.6951	24076.39071
2016	166942.1039	79310.46787	8139.517578	38670.48823	25587.13583
2017	182845.5287	90313.23539	8845.124021	37708.05214	27864.44425
2025	176493.2881	134922.4105	25003.03581	43006.72684	49931.35068
2030	161228.909	166326.6392	36088.79961	49272.13666	64237.89644
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Cooling

Energy demand for cooling is the fastest growing end-use in buildings, with sales rising three times faster than efficiency improvements. To put cooling on track to meet the SDS target, minimum energy performance standards need to push markets to improve AC performance by more than 50% by 2030.

Read more about cooling

	Residential - in use	Residential - sales	Non-residential - in use	Non-residential - sales
2000	3.05	3.20	2.86	3.13
2001	3.08	3.19	2.89	3.20
2002	3.11	3.24	2.91	3.18
2003	3.14	3.37	2.94	3.23
2004	3.17	3.43	2.98	3.26
2005	3.22	3.60	3.01	3.34
2006	3.29	3.78	3.07	3.55
2007	3.36	3.85	3.15	3.60
2008	3.44	3.95	3.22	3.70
2009	3.53	4.05	3.30	3.82
2010	3.62	4.06	3.37	3.85
2011	3.71	4.11	3.44	3.95
2012	3.78	4.12	3.50	3.96
2013	3.85	4.11	3.55	4.06
2014	3.91	4.11	3.61	4.16
2015	3.96	4.11	3.67	4.19
2016	4.01	4.14	3.73	4.24
2017	4.05	4.16	3.80	4.26
2020	4.38	5.16	4.23	5.60
2025	5.22	6.11	5.31	6.87
2030	6.15	6.91	6.38	7.78
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Lighting

2016 and 2017 were a critical turning point for energy-efficient lighting, with sales of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) reaching one-third of market sales, thanks to major reductions in costs, improved quality and greater options for lighting applications. Sales of LEDs are on track to meet the SDS target, although this will still require a 250% increase in LEDs’ share of sales by 2030.

Read more about lighting

	LEDs	Fluorescents	Others
2010	0.014605928	0.37309126	0.612302812
2011	0.017220027	0.415009499	0.567770474
2012	0.041307861	0.495617957	0.463074182
2013	0.059550862	0.569273817	0.371175321
2014	0.103417414	0.588118854	0.308463732
2015	0.173676845	0.585344684	0.240978471
2016	0.30668856	0.521146178	0.172165262
2017	0.333612537	0.507055484	0.159331979
2025	0.657302747	0.295607544	0.047089709
2030	0.802183897	0.17297783	0.024838272
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Appliances and equipment

Growing energy use by household appliances shows no signs of slowing down, reaching 2 900 TWh in 2017, or nearly twice as much as the electricity used in Africa and the Middle East. Only a third of appliance energy use today is covered by standards and labels, and coverage is poor in markets expected to grow rapidly in the next decade. Plug-loads and connected devices, which are proliferating rapidly, continue to go unregulated in most countries. All countries should consider adopting energy performance standards while increasing stringency of existing policies and extending coverage to a wider array of products.

Read more about appliances and equipment

	OECD Americas	OECD Pacific	OECD Europe	Eurasia	China	India	Other Asia	Latin America	Africa	Middle East
2000	630.3074155	241.4792681	339.1522357	144.7881916	115.2301285	32.49421414	93.34368915	75.04440626	46.01325508	75.39973102
2001	646.3367994	241.7420359	345.0076356	140.6404179	115.9003058	33.98712741	99.17567646	74.60953388	50.21628777	80.0385345
2002	672.7577295	247.4940773	354.8260498	141.9429862	118.5542415	35.90818965	103.301852	75.34516623	51.998028	84.78711074
2003	691.0391154	246.5810387	364.3983929	144.0985101	126.4367579	38.59197329	110.4010193	77.79843876	55.33248542	90.13808168
2004	716.0591964	252.3051995	375.0197916	144.6115048	138.9847182	40.43551984	117.3114843	79.55703484	58.82951564	95.03003493
2005	746.3440785	257.0688631	382.0883724	131.8340475	149.5248119	42.59879323	124.161069	83.62253716	65.36524985	108.839304
2006	760.7711348	259.430323	392.363687	136.0586305	167.5253771	48.00089503	130.58906	88.48551	68.12847939	116.3254088
2007	788.5448452	263.1781766	399.1735461	136.0777002	195.1924905	51.1760499	135.6048639	92.21155557	73.10902029	122.6115706
2008	813.2665295	263.74284	402.186219	139.877849	211.3015106	55.2941294	138.8243102	96.12003236	77.4861683	132.0555773
2009	782.0226198	266.3136045	408.8212831	145.2092391	234.8186268	61.44069228	147.6919191	99.26112784	76.60493152	140.5655465
2010	815.427017	272.3575364	416.6554558	152.1543618	242.7249341	68.01052666	157.9206515	103.3656364	83.78801536	151.2549122
2011	804.4118537	263.741718	417.4535096	155.1594779	267.392134	72.1991283	162.0378561	108.1960491	89.99858578	148.7638529
2012	785.6269644	263.787035	420.1726125	156.6606346	296.928454	77.26269268	172.59825	112.9496108	95.08785092	158.1232829
2013	830.9754723	262.806028	416.448012	162.7676987	333.3219878	83.99707229	182.3616323	115.6511964	100.0402349	165.6532618
2014	872.5435596	253.5650809	408.6854962	165.7469832	347.3652417	91.50925273	196.4165461	121.4774054	102.1982187	176.8680848
2015	875.5606134	247.3994148	417.554041	164.2088134	364.6290684	95.6763294	205.9939324	120.1004994	103.8654249	185.8970502
2016	880.3577107	243.3282888	425.5212623	162.9776403	384.8079324	102.5067483	215.9420865	119.1964063	106.4467388	194.9730813
2017	886.6714008	241.3222062	432.747142	162.7510152	405.6215724	108.1913306	226.8514852	119.2990174	109.9195368	204.2308731
2025	929.647884	247.9937023	438.8472649	169.4321685	549.8958644	162.3910162	314.3504703	146.0566453	156.4922257	249.0601823
2030	955.7198167	252.8032235	439.461197	175.2462293	657.358757	217.9638257	386.8035319	168.8683421	205.3981082	283.6407905
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Data centres and networks

Digitalization – notably the strong growth in internet traffic, the proliferation of connected devices, and the increasing data intensity of digital media – is driving an exponential growth in demand for data centre and network services. Data centres and networks together account for about 2% of global electricity demand, with huge strides in energy efficiency helping to keep electricity demand flat. Digital companies running the world’s largest data centres have also been leaders in corporate renewables procurement, accounting for more than half of total corporate renewable energy PPAs over the past three years.

Read the IEA's latest analysis on data centres and networks

	Traditional data centres	Cloud data centres (non-hyperscale)	Hyperscale data centres
2014	110.94	57.68	25.19
2020	44.00	72.67	83.46
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