Buildings and Climate Mitigation

Buildings and Climate Mitigation

This topic highlights a few aspects of this large field. Detailed coverage is in the IPCC Mitigation Report, see

Buildings and Climate - General Aspects

  • IPCC conclusions:

    Our survey of the literature (80 studies) indicates that there is a global potential to reduce approximately 29% of the projected baseline emissions by 2020 cost-effectively in the residential and commercial sectors, the highest among all sectors studied in this report...

    There is a broad array of accessible and cost-effective technologies and know-how that have not as yet been widely adopted, which can abate GHG emissions in buildings to a significant extent. These include passive solar design, high-efficiency lighting and appliances,  highly efficient ventilation and cooling systems, solar water heaters, insulation materials and techniques, high-reflectivity building materials and multiple glazing. The largest savings in energy use (75% or higher) occur for new buildings, through designing and operating buildings as complete systems.

Green Buildings

  • Non-Traditional Housing Construction Materials - Hemp

Houses made of hemp could help combat climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of building construction, according to researchers at the University of Bath, see HERE. A consortium, led by the BRE (Building Research Establishment) Centre for Innovative Construction Materials based at the University, has constructed a small building out of hemp-lime to test its properties as a building material. See HERE.

Picture at top: Low Carbon Hemp House, U. Bath

  • LEED certification

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is intended to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. The connection between LEED and mitigating climate change is complicated. THIS source (p. 15), says there are considerable reductions in electricity, natural gas, and energy (around 30%) for LEED buildings compared to conventional buildings.  Other studies showed that on average, LEED-certified buildings use the same source energy and produce equal greenhouse gas emissions as non-LEED-certified buildings; see HERE.

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