Climate change emissions from buildings and construction hit a new high

The building and construction sector’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions have rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic to an all-time high.

The sector accounted for more than 34% of energy demand and about 37% of energy and process-related CO2 emissions in 2021.

The sector’s operational energy-related CO2 emissions reached ten gigatons of CO2 equivalent—5% over 2020 levels and 2% over the pre-pandemic peak in 2019. In 2021, operational energy demand for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment in buildings increased by around 4% from 2020 and 3% from 2019.

Growth is outpacing efforts on energy efficiency and reducing energy intensity.

The increase in global gross floor area between 2015 and 2021 is the equivalent to the total land area covered in buildings in Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands; if it were built on one level, at around 24,000 sq. km (9,266.5 sq. miles).

The African population is expected to reach 2.4 billion people in 2050 (currently 1.4 billion in 2022) and 80% of this growth will occur in cities. An estimated 70% of the African building stock expected for 2040 has yet to be built.