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U.S. has tools to meet commercial building sector decarbonization goals early

Green

U.S. has tools to meet commercial building sector decarbonization goals early

USGBC report identifies high opportunity areas for faster decarbonization


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | December 11, 2023
U.S. has tools to meet commercial building sector decarbonization goals early
U.S. decarbonization pathways by sector

The U.S. has the tools to reduce commercial building-related emissions to reach target goals in 2029, earlier than what it committed to when it signed the Paris Agreement, according to a report by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The report includes key historical data and presents targeted opportunities for future improvement. It identifies high-opportunity areas that can be decarbonized faster, such as deep retrofits in refrigerated warehouses, where emissions have grown in recent years.

Older commercial buildings present another area for significant improvement. This building category, where pre–1980 buildings account for nearly 40% of gross commercial floor area in the U.S., could use nearly half of the expanded commercial energy efficiency tax deduction in 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act, a key lever for decarbonization.

On average, commercial buildings have become 37% less carbon intensive and 26% more energy efficient. But despite these reductions, the report found overall sector emissions of commercial buildings has remained flat since 1990 because of significant increases in total building floor area.

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