Action on building codes would spur low-carbon cities

Faster retrofit cycles, increased energy-efficiency requirements for existing buildings needed.

December 04, 2018 |

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Action on buildings codes is fundamental to efforts to significantly reduce urban carbon emissions, according to a report published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Cities in the most developed countries should encourage faster retrofit cycles and increase energy-efficiency requirements for existing buildings, the report says. In addition, they should develop zero-carbon energy codes for new construction and transition to an all-electric future.

In less-developed urban areas, the primary challenge is to quickly develop and implement energy codes for new construction while fostering energy-efficiency improvements in appliances. Increasing local capacity for code enforcement is another important component.

Cities in developing markets need to create base energy codes to avoid locking in decades of high carbon usage in new construction and address concerns about access to modern energy sources. The report looked at 10 global cities and highlighted a set of principles to reduce carbon emissions.

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