Business leaders call for construction rethink
The authors of a four-year $15 million study on buildings’ energy efficiency have said global public intervention in the construction sector is necessary to meet climate change targets.
The World Economic Business Council for Sustainable Development launched their report, which they say is the most rigorous study ever done on the subject, at yesterday’s Paris Alliance to Save Energy global forum.
Björn Stigson, president of the WBCSD, said: ‘Unless there is immediate action, thousands of new buildings will be built without any concern for energy efficiency, and millions of existing, inefficient buildings using more energy than necessary will still be standing in 2050.’
He continued: ‘The market alone will not be able to make the necessary changes. Most building owners and occupants don’t know enough and don’t care enough about energy consumption, and inertia is reinforced by assumptions that costs are too high and savings too low. That’s why we are calling for a major, coordinated and global effort.’
In response Liberal Democrat housing spokeswoman Sarah Teather said: ‘Tougher regulations to set high standards for all buildings is vital if we are going to avoid an environmental catastrophe.
‘The government must scrap its pointless VAT cut and invest the money in thousands of zero carbon social homes, offering families low fuel bills and a major programme to improve the energy efficiency of schools and hospitals. This is the green fiscal stimulus the country needs.’
The WBCSD, a CEO-led organisation whose transnational corporation members include firms like Bosch, CEMEX, DuPont, and EDF Group, is calling for governments to:
- Strengthen building codes and energy labelling for increased transparency
- Use subsidies and price signals to incentivise energy-efficient investments
- Encourage integrated design approaches and innovations
- Develop and use advanced technology to enable energy-saving behaviour
- Develop workforce capacity for energy saving
- Mobilise for an energy-aware culture