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21 Jun 2012 Paris Time Workshop — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Energy Efficiency in Buildings: A Key Element of the Global Sustainable Development Agenda


Buildings belong to the most basic of human needs, along with food, water and healthcare. The more an economy develops, the more people spend time within buildings (up to 90% of their time in developed countries).

The building sector has major impacts on the environment. It accounts for one-third of global energy demand and for a large portion (about one-quarter) of greenhouse gas emissions in all economies. Additionally, through improved energy efficiency in their design and management, buildings present the largest and most cost-effective potential for energy savings and greenhouse gases emission reductions.

Energy efficient buildings will also be a key tool for climate change adaptation and for a variety of other sustainable development issues, including energy security, poverty alleviation, water supply and management, and health.

Unfortunately, the building sector has not yet received the focus it deserves in high-level political agendas and policy-making. In developing countries, where the rate of new construction is high, efforts should aim at quickly reaching high standards of efficiency in new buildings. In developed countries, building energy refurbishment needs to be harnessed rapidly and efficiently.

UNDP and IEA are working together to assess the lessons-learned from UNDP’s extensive portfolio of Global Environment Facility (GEF) energy efficiency buildings and appliances projects, spanning more than 50 countries over the past 20 years, and to identify recommendations for future work in this field.

The United Nations Development Programme and the International Energy Agency will jointly present their findings and recommendations to encourage policy makers to systematically mainstream energy efficiency and low-carbon solutions in building construction and management as well as in city planning.