Why Energy Efficiency in Buildings Matters

Energy efficiency means providing the same service with less energy. Energy efficiency in buildings typically involves changes to the way that heat, cooling and lighting are delivered and controlled, and improvements to the building structure that keep heat in when it is cooler outside and reduce the need for using air conditioning in warmer weather.

Buildings represent 40% of primary energy consumption and emit around one third of global GHG emissions of human origin1. Yet buildings have also been shown to provide great potential for delivering significant cuts in both. Recent advances in technology, design practices and expertise, coupled with behavioral changes, are estimated to achieve a two-to-tenfold reduction in the energy requirements of individual new buildings and a two-to-fourfold reduction for individual existing buildings largely cost-effectively or sometimes even at net negative costs2.

For many companies, energy is a significant operational cost that can be reduced through more intelligent consumption. Energy efficiency measures (EEMs) lead to savings in energy bills that decrease operational costs, increase the value of property assets and improve workplace productivity and health, whilst simultaneously decreasing regulatory and energy market risks and minimizing dangerous climate change3.

Read more about the benefits of energy efficiency projects


1 United Nations Environmental Program Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative, undated. Why buildings. Available online

2 Lucon O. et al., 2014. Chapter 9 - Buildings, in Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O. et al. (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom and New York. Available online

3 World Green Business Council, 2013. The Business Case for Green Buildings – A Review of the Costs and Benefits for Developers, Investors and Occupants, World Green Building Council, Toronto. Available online: