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.

subjectEmissions Drivers

These graphs show the changes in Buildings emissions drivers in China, the EU, and the US


United States Contribution of key drivers to increase or decrease of annual buildings emissions

Growth in population and floor space per person were the largest drivers of buildings emissions. In the late 2000's, energy efficiency gains caught up with slowing floor space growth.


    European Union 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.


      China 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.