3 areas sustainable construction can help build a greener future


  • The construction sector is responsible for 37% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions, 69% of those emissions come from operating and using existing buildings.
  • The trend towards sustainable construction is overall positive but the sector still needs to evolve in how it addresses global warming, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse and water scarcity.
  • Improvements will be driven by research and development, adapting cost allocation and practices in the sector and enshrining regulatory changes.

Climate change has unquestionably become the biggest global risk. All of us bear responsibility but this duty is particularly acute for those operating in carbon-heavy sectors like construction, which is responsible for 37% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions.

There is a pressing need for the construction sector to develop sustainable practices to protect our climate and prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This imperative is especially true as global construction is forecast to grow by 42% by 2030.

Sustainable construction for a greener future

There are three key areas where construction can evolve its practices to become more resilient, protect our environment and build a sustainable future.

1. Global warming

The current carbon footprint of the construction sector is significant. However, the largest source of emissions comes from operating and using existing buildings rather than their construction. McKinsey estimates this contributes 69% of total emissions along the construction value chain. It follows that sustainable building design must be a priority.

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This article was written by the World Economic Forum

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