Just How Much Do Building Practices Effect Our Climate?

One might wonder just how much modern building practices effect our climate and this article will hopefully point you in the right direction to get all the answers that you need.

A quote from a report prepared by the CEC states:

“In Canada, Mexico, and the United States, commercial and residential building operations account for about 20, 30, and 40 percent of the primary energy consumption, respectively. They typically also account for 20 to 25 percent of the landfill waste and 5 to 12 percent of the water consumption. The United States Green Building Council estimates that green building, on average, currently reduces energy use by 30 percent, carbon emissions by 35 percent, water use by 30 to 50 percent, and generates waste cost savings of 50 to 90 percent.” (bold ours)

Chapter 3 Pg 25 had an especially interesting paragraph. It said:

“The impact is especially profound in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Every
year, buildings in North America cause more than 2,200 MT of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere, about 35 percent of the continent’s total. Hundreds of coalfired power plants, a key source of greenhouse gas emissions, are currently on the drawing boards in the United States. According to one report, 76 percent of the energy produced by these plants will go to operate buildings.”

So just changing building practices to more green methods in North America can effect a huge change on huge factors that affect global climate change.

In chapter 4 of the report on page 34 the heading reads “A process of continually improving the performance of buildings can fundamentally address the climate change crisis.” and it further states “about 30 percent of the projected global greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector can be avoided by 2030 with net economic benefi t. According to the report, limiting CO2 emissions would also improve indoor and outdoor air quality, improve social welfare, and enhance energy security.”

So not only does it reduce the pollutants that cause global warming but will drive further devlopment economically and improve overall environmental conditions leading to further benefits. As with any efficiency effort it would also lead to a more secure future in this case in terms of energy.

A Swedish study was cited that showed that huge cost savings could result from upgrading insulation, water heaters, and using energy efficient lighting. While we know that this was a Swedish study similar results should be had by making similar changes in North America.

The study found thatInsulation improvements alone could save more than 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2030, lighting improvement could eliminate close to 0.4 gigatonnes, and water heating improvements of about 0.5 gigatonnes.

The report brings out some very interesting facts and information on how green builing practices can further benefit the world in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and certainly worth a read.

Make sure you take a look at the report at http://www.cec.org/files/PDF/GB_Report_EN.pdf

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