Buildings are central to meeting the sustainability challenge. In the developed world, buildings consume over 70% of the electrical power generated and 40% of primary energy, and are responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions from combustion. While developing countries will need to accommodate 2.4 billion new urban residents by 2050, in Europe 75-90% of buildings standing today are expected to remain in use in 2050. Renewable energy technology alone cannot meet those requirements, despite recent improvements. The energy performance of buildings must be managed, but the capability to meet this challenge is in place.
Standards are an effective instrument for addressing energy efficiency in buildings. Development and deployment of standards support the achievements of the targets set by several international initiatives such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, the Geneva United Nations Charter on Sustainable Housing. The concepts set forth herein go well beyond the incremental, components approach of existing building standards. Rather, they represent a principles-based performance guidance for building energy standards that is outcome-based, anchored in energy actually consumed, and that is designed to project a vision of holistically designed and operated, ultrahigh performance buildings as part of an integrated sustainable energy system.
The framework guidelines provide goals and principles for sustainable building standards, as well as how to implement them.