Energy Efficiency Took Center Stage at the COP24 Conference
COP24, the United Nations’ most recent conference on the topic of climate change, took place in 2018, in Katowice, Poland. As usual, the central focus of the conference was reaffirming global commitments to reduce the world’s carbon footprint, with attention being given to increased measures to become more energy efficient.
One of the main culprits of carbon dioxide emissions are buildings. According to one source, “28 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from energy use in buildings” alone. This indicates that we still have a lot of work to do not only in our efforts to construct new energy-efficient buildings, but also to renovate existing buildings to make them more environmentally friendly and better contain their negative environmental impact.
As builders and contractors, we are on the front lines of mitigating global climate change. Here are some ways our efforts can be great for the environment and for business.
Materials can make a notable difference
By making the commitment to source and utilize energy efficient materials and building solutions, we can make huge strides toward controlling harmful emissions. According to one source, the simplest solution such as: “retrofitting existing buildings with energy saving insulation could save millions of tons of carbon dioxide.” Using Europe as an example, the article explains that by applying this solution to buildings throughout Europe, an estimate 660 million tons of carbon could be contained. Insulation is only one of the materials that can make a huge difference in minimizing the environmental impact of the buildings we construct and renovate.
Beyond the environment, energy efficiency trickles down to the building’s owner and/or residents
When doing new energy efficient construction or renovations, the priority should always be the environment. However, the owner of the building or property may very well experience a sweet payoff as well. Increasing the efficiency of our buildings will most likely reduce the cost of utilities due to lower energy consumption, which will invariably lead to financial savings for the property owner.
The issue of climate change is real, and happening all around us
Whatever side of the political aisle you fall on, the reality of climate change can no longer be denied. As one resource explains: “if we miss the target of keeping global average temperatures under 1.5c above pre-industrial levels” … the goal laid out at COP21 in Paris… “we will face worldwide mass forced migration, escalating heat, droughts, floods and food insecurity that could lead to mass starvation.” Suffice it to say, it is our responsibility as builders to lead as best we can in efforts to stem the tide of global climate change, to protect the Earth and, in turn, do our part to contribute to a sustainable environment for everyone.