The path to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the intermediate steps already planned and to be foreseen must also apply to buildings, which are now responsible for about 40% of world energy emissions.
The reduction of emissions produced by buildings (decarbonisation) is based on five main components: electrification, efficiency optimization, use of home automation and digitalisation technologies, presence of renewable sources or connection to them, adequate design referring to the entire life cycle .
This path is generally linked to the disposal of gas, and usually also allows collateral benefits such as an increase in the value of buildings, resistance over time, more comfortable spaces, improvement of indoor and outdoor air quality and public health.
An important contribution to this path can be expected from the activation of renewable energy communities: groups of citizens who produce, distribute and share clean and renewable energy to limit energy waste, share energy at advantageous prices and reduce CO2 emissions. Such communities are spreading significantly and by 2050 it is estimated that 264 million European citizens will enter the energy market as prosumers and generate around 45% of total renewable electricity.
At least a quarter of building emissions are those associated with construction materials and processes in the building's life cycle: embedded carbon with a reduction potential of 25% to 45% with an additional cost of less than 1%.
To reduce the emissions generated by the construction and operation of a building, the best opportunity is a pre-construction project including a life cycle analysis, with which:
reduce overall future emissions;
acquire the characteristics for certifications (eg BREEAM, EDGE, LEED, Green Building Council, Zero Carbon);
anticipate upcoming regulations related to requirements such as carbon tax, legal requirements for buildings, green purchasing policies, development incentives and other regulatory mechanisms;
anticipate upcoming market scenarios in which these characteristics will allow the property to maintain or increase its value over time.
Almost all of the remaining part of the emissions relates to the operating phase of the building, for which suitable paths can be created to minimize both emissions and utility costs.