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.

regionEuropean Union

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


Emissions Building emissions in the EU27

Emissions associated with direct fuel combustion in the buildings sector fell, but were offset by a shift from direct to indirect emissions due to a rise in electricity consumption.


    Emissions Drivers Impacts of drivers on residential emissions

    Population increase and smaller households- which led to more buildings and total floorspace —increased residential emissions. However, these factors were more than offset by increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy and a shift to electricity from other fuel sources.


      Policy EU policy towards referigerating appliances

      The increasing strictness of labeling standards for refrigerators, introduced in 1995 and updated regularly, demonstrated how EU efficiency standards ratcheted up over the last several years. The efficiency of the worst permissible label now exceeds the top category from 1995.