The Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change assesses the implications of climate change on buildings 

In 2010, the world’s buildings accounted for 32% of global final energy use and 19% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under business-as-usual projections, use of
energy in buildings globally could double or even triple by 2050. Drivers include billions of people acquiring adequate housing and access to electricity. This is one of the key findings of the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The world’s buildings account for just Under a third of global final energy use and about a fifth of all GHG emissions, although energy use varies widely from region to region.
Buildings’ energy use in developed countries is generally very wasteful and inefficient, although mounting evidence shows this need not be the case. Developing countries
risk locking into the same pattern as their economies and populations grow – hence business-as-usual trends projecting two- or three-fold rises in global building final energy demand and associated emissions by 2050. 

Yet buildings offer near-term, highly costeffective opportunities to curb energydemand growth rates, even to reverse them in developed economies. A few developed countries have already reversed growth in total energy use by using stricter building codes and appliance standards. 

Exploiting this potential more widely requires sustained policies and actions that address all aspects of the design, construction, and operation of buildings and their equipment, as well as changing user behaviours and attitudes. 

Within the buildings sector, both residential and commercial, early movers towards efficiency can reap multiple benefits. These include more valuable, resilient buildings that offer better living and working conditions for owners and tenants, associated improvements in health and productivity, and higher occupancy rates. 

Lack of access to capital presents a significant hurdle to progress, not least for resource-poor countries. Yet energy efficiency helps other development goals,
including better health from improved indoor air quality, poverty alleviation and improved energy security.
The longevity of buildings presents the risk of energy performance ‘lock-in’ whereby today’s sluggish ambition confers a legacy of less than optimal buildings to future generations. Avoiding lock-in requires the urgent adoption of state-of-the-art performance standards in all buildings. 

Buildings face multiple climate change impacts including more frequent strong wind, increased heat, particularly in cities (Urban Heat Island effect), and the floods and wildfires that accompany some extreme weather events. Buildings have already experienced big increases in damage over recent decades.

Click here to read the full report.