Circular economy in buildings would reduce carbon emissions dramatically

27 June 2024 09:50

Cologny/Dalian - Using recycled and reused materials for building construction and renovations, new technologies, natural elements, and making structures more resilient to extreme climate changes would significantly reduce carbon emissions, argued the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group in a report.

Buildings generate 37 percent of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide and drive urban sprawl that has destroyed habitats accommodating 34 percent of the planet’s flora and fauna. Now the Cologny, Switzerland-based World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group have published a report whose recommendations could help abate more than 80 percent of the building sector’s emissions and unlock $1.8 trillion in investments.

Entitled “Towards Green Building Value Chains: China and Beyond”, the report envisions how to achieve net-zero emissions in buildings using innovative technologies and materials; integrating natural elements into buildings to improve their performance; improving buildings’ ability to handle extreme weather and climates; and ensuring that developers consider more deeply the well-being of the planet and people in their construction.

“The new frontier of growth and competitiveness for players in the building sector will be to develop materials, design construction methods and achieve operational outcomes that are net-zero carbon, nature positive and resilient to extreme weather shocks while promoting community well-being and people-to-people connections,” said World Economic Managing Director Forum Gim Huay Neo in a press release published on June 26.

The report also details the barriers that are preventing developers and the building industry from making changes, including regulations that don’t incentivize best practices, data management and hurdles to adopting advanced tech, the lack of biomaterials for construction and renovations, financing challenges, and the need to train worker who will enact changes.

Lastly, the report suggests that China, home to the largest construction market, should consider the report’s recommendations to make the biggest reduction in buildings’ greenhouse gases. 

The report was published at the 15th Annual Meeting of the New Champions which took place on 25-27 June in Dalian, China, under the theme, “Next Frontiers for Growth”. ce/jd

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