Spurring A Global Building Efficiency Movement

The past decade has seen a growing focus on global platforms seeking to move the needle on building efficiency through subnational action, national action and international partnerships. Despite the efforts of these global platforms and partnerships to date, the lack of a high-profile global political dialogue on building efficiency has stalled political backing at the national and international level. Building efficiency is one of the most effective near-term opportunities for achieving national and international climate and energy goals and the time has never been better – or more critical – for spurring a global building efficiency movement.

World Resources Institute and the Alliance to Save Energy convened more than 40 global government, industry and NGO building efficiency leaders in May 2018, at the EE Global Forumin Copenhagen, to kick off a discussion on how best to create an effective global building efficiency movement. The roundtable discussed measures of success, the attributes of successful movements, ways to link national-subnational action to create a strong political agenda, and opportunities to leverage the capabilities and relationships of existing global platforms and partnerships. Building on the conclusions from this discussion, which are outlined below, the partners are planning a follow-up discussion in September.

Measures of Success

To start the discussion, each participant was asked to define one measure of success – ten years from now – for a building efficiency movement. The participants’ responses covered the entire range of building efficiency benefits including reduced energy use, improved health and wellness, increased productivity, increased real estate values, long-term sustainability, greater resilience and de-carbonization. Other measures of success focused on actions, including increased building audits and retrofits, net zero new construction, life-cycle design optimization, availability of financing, low income programs, student education, and implementation of building codes and equipment standards. Finally, several participants suggested indicators linked to people, including improved public understanding of the link between energy efficiency and climate change, continuous engagement by decision makers, and having energy efficiency be as high-profile in the public mind as renewables and as cool as a Tesla.

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