A new United Nations-backed research report released earlier this month finds that the buildings sector continues to grow, with the energy intensity per sq meter of buildings needing to improve 30 percent by 2030. The Global Status Report 2017 warns that “time is running out” in part because more than half of building constructions expected by 2060 will be completed in the next 20 years—two-thirds in countries that lack mandatory building energy codes. However, it also highlights many opportunities to deploy energy-efficient and low-carbon solutions, including zero-energy buildings, and points to a number of global examples showing how the goals can be met with clear and concerted efforts.
The report estimates that in 2016, 235 billion square meters of total floor area was reached. Over the next 40 years, an additional 230 billion square meters of buildings will be constructed—the equivalent of adding the floor area of Japan to the planet every year to 2060.