Energy Efficiency: Buildings

The global exchange for energy efficiency policies, data and analysis

The buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for 36% of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions. Energy demand from buildings and buildings construction continues to rise, driven by improved access to energy in developing countries, greater ownership and use of energy-consuming devices, and rapid growth in global buildings floor area, at nearly 3% per year.


The Efficient World Scenario identifies opportunities in several buildings sub-sectors


The Efficient World Scenario highlights the potential for global building energy demand to decline between now and 2040, despite total building floor area growing by a further 60%. On average, buildings in 2040 could be nearly 40% more energy efficient than today.  

Space heating offers over a quarter of the potential energy savings. Water heating efficiency could also improve by 43% and improvements in space cooling, which is the fastest growing source of building energy demand, could see air conditioner efficiency double.   

	2000-17	2018-40
Space heating	35	43
Space cooling	-29 	4
Water heating	25	43
Lighting	21	30
Cooking 	25	50
Appliances	-6	4

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Policy insights


The IEA Efficient World Strategy highlights a range of actions through which governments can enable greater buildings sector efficiency gains.

Explore buildings policies

Buildings sub-sectors

Data and resources on specific buildings technologies and end uses.

Cooling Heating Lighting Appliances & equipment

Explore the data


Show me

	Historical	Efficient World Scenario
2000	97.7	
2005	105.1	
2010	110.8	
2017	118.1	118.1
2020		117.9
2025		116.9
2030		116.3
2035		116.1
2040		116.5
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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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Note: Countries covered are IEA countries plus Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.

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Mandatory policy coverage of total final energy use in buildings

	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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Show me

	Historical	Sustainable Development Scenario
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	9.03
2025		7.50
2030		6.07
 
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Tracking Clean Energy Progress on buildings: Not on track

The IEA’s newly-enhanced Tracking Clean Energy Progress provides a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of a full range of energy technologies and sectors that are critical in a global clean-energy transition.

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.

Read more...

Related resources


IEA publications on buildings

Other resources

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Access information, data and resources and learn about efficiency opportunities in each sector.

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Economy-wide actions to improve energy efficiency include setting national targets, market-based instruments and creating a supportive enabling environment for investments.

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Buildings sector

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The buildings sector consumes 30% of all energy and despite some efficiency improvements, demand for cooling, heating, and lighting as well as residential appliances and equipment continues to grow.

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Industry sector

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