Carbon reduction targets have stalled in various countries over building emissions

A new report from 3Keel and Kingspan Global Retrofit has found reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have come to a halt in several G20 countries, as a result of the ageing housing stock.

Published today, the second annual 3Keel and Kingspan Global Retrofit Index shows that several European countries, including France and Germany, are no longer showing signs of improving greenhouse gas output levels. In addition, carbon reduction has made a U-turn in the US as emissions have been found to be rising.

white clouds in blue sky

Based on the research, which was conducted by examining historical buildings emission trends and retrofitting rates to identify the gaps between current action and what is needed to meet net zero targets, no G20 country will be able to hit targets unless serious retrofitting improvements are introduced.

According to researchers, the majority of buildings in the UK, France and Ireland are stuck at an EPC rating of D or C, whilst German households remain reliant on fossil fuels.

Although retrofitting services would help to combat this, there are some obstacles that stand in the way. Examples include, finances, a lack of public awareness and skills shortages. However, in a bid to address these, The Global Retrofit Index Interim Report, which can be found in full here, recommends a series of solutions.

In addition, the report also outlines five key elements needed to roll out a success national retrofit framework.

These include:

  1. Setting net zero building performance standards
  2. Developing a national retrofit plan
  3. Providing financial incentives and support
  4. Upskilling the workforce and scaling the supply chain
  5. Promoting best practice and data transparency

Olwen Smith of 3Keel and author of the report said: ‘With over a quarter of total global emissions stemming from the operation of our buildings, retrofitting is a pivotal lever for decarbonising the global economy.

‘However, this study shows a concerning stagnation of progress. Our analysis of six countries with old building stocks reveals that reductions in building emissions are now stalling and retrofitting rates are lagging far behind what is required to meet net-zero goals.

‘The tools and technologies required to improve energy performance in buildings already exist. Coordinated efforts between governments and the private sector are now needed to overcome implementation barriers and rapidly scale retrofitting to drive down building emissions globally.’

Image: Anne Nygård


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