Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Global Warming of 1.5°C – a new report highlighting a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more.
The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
Accomplishing this critical goal will be a steep feat, requiring commitments from all industries. So where does commercial real estate fit in? Let’s look at the stats:
- The commercial and residential sector is responsible for 11 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. EPA.
- About 39 percent of total U.S. energy consumption was consumed by the commercial and residential sectors in 2017, according to the U.S. EIA.
- Over the next 40 years, 2.5 trillion square feet of buildings will be constructed or renovated in cities worldwide, according to the UN Environment Program.
Buildings have a lifespan of 50-100 years during which they continually consume energy and produce CO2 emissions. Homes and commercial buildings use large amounts of energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and other functions.
Fortunately, there are strategies that property managers and building engineers can employ to reduce carbon emissions from their buildings. Smarter energy use, upgrading to high-efficiency electric alternatives for space and water heating equipment, and replacing fossil fuel use with renewable fuels to meet energy needs can all dramatically decrease a building’s carbon footprint.
Smarter energy use starts with Aquicore. Tools like real-time utility tracking, optimal start time suggestions, and peak load management available in the platform can empower property managers to ask the right questions about energy use and enable building engineers to investigate and correct unusual or inefficient behavior.