Strategies for reducing energy use and carbon emissions in buildings are well understood and are proven to be cost-effective. Already, regions of the U.S. and countries throughout the EU have made significant strides in adopting these strategies into high performance design standards, with numerous efforts underway to adopt nearly zero or net zero code standards by 2030. If adopted broadly, these standards could reduce global carbon emissions more effectively than any other technological interventions available today.
The problem lies in how quickly these building decarbonization solutions are being deployed. Even with significant growth in cities, new construction contributes only a small portion of highly efficient buildings to the overall building stock per year. Similarly, building renovations currently affect only 0.5-1% of the building stock annually, signaling a slow pace of change for the building sector. Here lies the key opportunity for disruption: rapidly accelerate building upgrades and directly impact the largest source of urban emissions.