Policy activity in the buildings sector accelerated in the 1990s in Europe, after 2000 in the U.S., and more recently in China. Despite efficiency improvements in heating, cooling, and lighting, growth in building floor space and increasing appliance and electronics use have mostly offset efficiency gains.


These graphs show the changes in emissions, emissions drivers, and policy in the Buildings sector in China


Emissions Building sector emissions

Reported buildings-related emissions fell during the 1990s, possibly due to district heating improvements, but more likely due to underreporting of coal use and measurement issues. Since 2002, emissions have been rising steadily due to growing energy use in buildings.


    Emissions Drivers Energy consumption by fuel source

    Particularly in urban residences, electronics and appliances became a significant end use, more than offsetting efficiency improvements in heating. Appliance use contributed to the increase in share of electricity in energy, as did the shift away from coal use.


      Policy Estimated impact of policies targeting energy use reduction

      Increased enforcement of energy building codes saved an estimated 60 million tonnes of coal equivalent per year, more than all other targeted policies combined.