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UNECE: Efficiency a ‘concern and opportunity’

warsawThe UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) plans to hold a workshop in Sofia, Bulgaria, next week on “Energy Efficiency in Housing.”

The programme is set for 21 – 22 April.

According to the organisation, existing buildings in the UNECE region — especially those built between the 1960s and the 1980s — typically have low thermal efficiency and wasteful heat distribution systems. Even many newer buildings are equally inefficient.

“Unless this efficiency is improved, increased housing construction and homeownership will be accompanied by higher electricity consumption, and thus higher emissions,” the UNECE notes.

“Buildings are both a reason for concern and an opportunity,” it adds. “On the one hand, some estimates indicate that housing in some cases could assume 90 per cent of all energy consumption in society, particularly in low-income countries, and further that the building sector is not likely to reduce its impact. Direct emissions, for instance, are expected to grow by some 70 per cent between 2000 and 2050. On the other hand, other studies indicate that on a global scale buildings could generate some of the most significant savings in terms of energy consumption.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says improvements in the residential and commercial sectors could reduce baseline carbon dioxide emissions by  about 29 per cent by 2020.

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