Global Emissions From Buildings, Construction Climb to Record Levels

Female climber

CO2 increases spurred by new construction, office re-openings and fossil-fuel use in emerging markets.

November 28, 2022
Gautam Naik - Bloomberg

Carbon-dioxide emissions from building construction and operations hit an all-time high in 2021, according to the most recent data, a sign that the push to decarbonize the industry by 2050 may be slipping out of reach.

Energy-related emissions from the operation of buildings reached 10 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, 5% higher than 2020 levels and 2% more than the pre-pandemic peak in 2019, according to data compiled by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. Operational energy demand in buildings for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment rose about 4% from 2020 levels, the group said.

While investments in building energy efficiency increased 16% last year to $237 billion, the growth in floor space outpaced efficiency efforts. As a result, “the gap between the climate performance of the sector and the 2050 decarbonization pathway is widening,” the report concluded.



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