ABC Global report to COP




Michel Sudarskis, Secretary General of INTA

Publishing date:


Energy use in buildings and for building construction represents more than one-third of global final energy consumption and contributes to nearly one-quarter of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions worldwide. A growing population, as well as rapid growth in purchasing power in emerging economies and developing countries, means that energy demand in buildings could increase by 50% by 2050 (IEA, 2016), while global building floor area is expected to double by 2050, driving energy demand and related GHG emissions for construction. Yet, the building sector offers the largest cost-effective GHG mitigation potential, with net cost savings and economic gains possible through implementation of existing technologies, policies and building designs. Building energy efficiency technologies and policies have been demonstrated as cost effective means for collectively improving energy security and productivity, while also improving health and wellbeing, reducing local air pollution, creating jobs and adapting to climate change.

The recent GABC report for the COP22 is meant to foster the involvement of the private building and construction industry in the implementation of the policy priorities adopted by the COPs. More precisely how to do more and better in terms of public policies through a partnership with the building and construction industry, the local authorities and the consumers?

It is clear that the success of "reducing global energy and process-based carbon" is closely related to the capacity of the consumers to understand what is required from them, to the incentives received from the public sector, and to the technical skills of the local contractors. Said differently, which services can the building and construction industry bring to the inhabitants that will lower their energy bill; in the United Kingdom energy poverty hits 10% of the population, 20 % in France; figures must be higher in emerging countries.

However, the proposals for supporting actions in the report seem to ignore the "consumers". A reference to the need to provide incentives to the consumers seems necessary for a successful reduction of energy consumption in buildings.

The report takes a global view of the building and construction industry, while it is a fragmented industry composed mainly of SMEs operating at a low territorial level (narrow market, narrow margin) and with low technical skills. The fragmentation of the building and construction industry has an impact on the implementation of global recommendations. How to ensure that all components of the "value chain", i.e. the ecosystem of the small local construction enterprises, are aligned with the national and international objectives, in particular when discussing the place of informal or self-construction in the reduction of energy consumption and climate action? Thus, the importance of a "strong understanding of the construction value chain" and, as rightly said, to offer a "curriculum for sustainability and/or energy efficiency in professional degrees and building trade education. However, the impact of this curriculum on professional or trade practices is not always evident in building and construction activity". Policy action should stress the need to direct resources from the Green Climate Fund to the training activities at the local levels.

The reference made to local authorities as key stakeholders does not take into consideration the decentralisation process, still imperfect in many countries, which questions the capacity of the building and construction industry to adapt its economic and technical models to the institutional fragmentation. How to stimulate technical and management innovation (the word innovation does not exist in the report) in a non-homogenous sector?

Finally, Governments are invited to increase finance and funding; this call for support can be accompanied by others measures to encourage long-term investment such as guaranteeing the stability of the fiscal and regulatory system, the stability of national energy and industrial policies, the stability of the planning and territorial development process.

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