The cost of energy saving building, including heating and cooling, is overestimated by 300%. This is creating major barriers for "green" technologies, a new report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development finds.
Using efficient building equipment, such as hot water heat pumps, air conditioning, or space heating could significantly reduce the high energy use buildings account for. But the introduction of already existing green technologies faces major barriers, a survey among more than 1,400 building professionals has shown. While the cost of green building is highly overestimated, the environmental impact of buildings is largely underestimated by the industry.
These findings are disclosed in a newly released report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Co-chaired by key players in the construction, heating and cooling industry, the report summarizes the first phase of the "Energy Efficiency in Buildings Project" (EEB) a three year initiative to suggest technologies for "zero net energy buildings" for commercial and residential use.
Efficient heating and cooling key to reduce energy use
--image1--According to the report, 80 to 85% of the total energy use and CO2 emissions of a building is due to heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water use. Bruno Lafont, CEO of Lafarge, a company chairing the EEB project, is clear that "if we want to make an impact on climate change, we therefore need to tackle this challenge".
The WBCSD project will now identify existing technologies able to reduce the energy used by heating and cooling equipment. With the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and Kansai Electric Power Company, two manufacturers of CO2 heat pumps (Eco Cute) belong to the EEB project core group. This may draw attention to a form of water heating 30% more efficient than conventional systems.
Related to existing misjudgements from the building industry, the survey showed:
The additional cost of building green is estimated at 17% compared to conventional construction, more than triple the true cost difference of about 5%.
Greenhouse gas emissions by buildings are estimated at 19% of the world total, while the actual figure of 40% is double this.
The WBCSD report combines the findings from research, stakeholder dialogues, and a market research study. The WBCSD decided to start the EEB project to halt the energy use of buildings and equipment, projected to rise substantially in the world's fastest growing countries such as China and India. The EEB project focuses on energy efficiency improvements in six world regions: Brazil, China, Europe, India, Japan and the U.S.