Energy efficient buildings are crucial in solving the climate crisis
Human-induced global warming is one of the greatest worldwide crises. Climate change can be mitigated by improving the energy efficiency of buildings, says project coordinator Kata Kreft-Burman.
What does energy efficiency of buildings mean?
Buildings consume energy for many necessary functions such as lighting, heating, cooling and air conditioning. It is essential for climate change mitigation that this valuable energy is not wasted. Energy efficient buildings use less energy in a more efficient way.
Why does WWF work with energy efficiency of buildings?
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is crucial for climate change mitigation. For instance, within the EU buildings are estimated to consume 40 % of energy and produce 36 % of carbon dioxide emissions. The emission and consumption reduction potential are therefore significant. According to the Finnish Climate Change Panel, energy consumption in Finland could be reduced by 21–33 % by the year 2050 through improving energy efficiency of buildings and by introducing low-carbon solutions in new construction. The most significant energy saving potential lies in energy efficiency renovations of the existing building stock.
What does WWF do to improve the energy efficiency of buildings?
We coordinate an EU funded “LIFE EconomisE” project that aims to improve energy efficiency of buildings. The Finnish Environment Institute and The Environmental School of Finland are partners in the project. The objective of the project is to enhance energy efficiency in cooperation with building owners, institutional investors (e.g. investment firms and pension funds), as well as cities and municipalities. In addition, we work with companies’ CSR experts, cleantech companies, the building sector, civil servants and politicians.
What kind of activities are done in the LIFE EconomisE project in practice?
We bring together different parties to create new projects and business ideas. We organise events and workshops where industry professionals get together. In addition, we cooperate with institutional investors in order to get them to develop their real estate to become low-carbon and more sustainable for the climate perspective. We assist decision-makers in cities and municipalities to take real estate related investment decisions that increase energy efficiency.
What kind of benefits do energy efficient buildings offer to the owner or the user of the building?
In addition to carbon dioxide and energy consumption reductions, energy efficient buildings offer owners and users other types of advantages. Maintenance costs are reduced and the value of the buildings increase. In many cases, energy efficient solutions also improve functionality and the atmosphere of the building.