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Home > Feature Articles > Sustainable Development Best Practices for Community Sustainability

Key Points from the U.N.'s Buildings and Climate Change Report

Simple construction techniques can save energy over the lifespan of buildings.

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Building Efficiency to Curtail Global Climate Change

In the life time of an average building most energy is consumed, not for construction, but during the period when the building is in use. That is, when energy is being used for heating, cooling, lighting, cooking, ventilation and so on.

Recognizing this, the U.N.'s report pushes for a greater use of existing technologies like thermal insulation, solar shading and more efficient lighting and electrical appliances, as well as the importance of educational and awareness campaigns.


Typically more than 80 percent of the total energy consumption takes place during the use of a building, and less than 20 percent during construction of the building.


“To achieve improved energy efficiency in buildings you often do not need to use advanced and expensive high-tech solutions, but simple solutions such as smart design, flexible energy solutions and provision of appropriate information to the building users,” says Olivier Luneau, SBCI Chairman and Director for sustainability at Lafarge.

“Simple solutions can include sun shading and natural ventilation, improved insulation of the building envelope, use of recycled building materials, adoption of the size and form of the building to its intended use etc,” he said. “Of course you can achieve even better results if more sustainable construction system solutions are used, such as intelligent lighting and ventilation systems, low temperature heating and cooling systems and energy saving household appliances. Only by minimizing the energy use over the entire life span of the building can we harvest the full environmental and economic savings that the building sector offers."

Government

In addition to a greater use of relevant energy saving technologies, the report stresses the importance of appropriate government policies on building codes, energy pricing and financial incentives that encourage reductions in energy consumption.

Building Sector

It also emphasizes that the building sector stakeholders themselves, including investors, architects, property developers, construction companies, tenants, etc. need to understand and support, such policies in order for them to function effectively.

The full report is available from the U.N.'s Sustainable Buildings and Construction Initiative PDF download from: www.unepsbci.org



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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