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Anniversary event: Why sustainable buildings matter!


06/01/2022 | Anniversary event: Why sustainable buildings matter!

The power of transformative climate solutions: Technologies and policies for sustainable buildings.

In the second part of GFA’s anniversary event series, speakers at HEAT headquarters highlighted the opportunities and challenges with regards to a transformation of the building and construction sector towards carbon neutrality.

Today, roughly 40 percent of energy-related carbon emissions can be attributed to buildings, said Dietram Oppelt, HEAT’s managing director, underlining the necessity to address this sector and the possibilities to reduce these emissions. With increasing temperatures, the environmental impacts from using appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators becomes ever more relevant. On the other hand, with a drastically increasing building stock, especially in developing countries, embodied carbon of building materials is a crucial factor as well.

Tackling the reduction of emissions from steel and cement production needs to be addressed in the 2020s in order for climate neutrality to remain in sight, said Stela Ivanova from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. “Information is power,” said Rose Mwebaza from the CTCN, the implementing arm of the UNFCCC technology mechanism. A focus of the CTCN with regards to the reduction of emissions from buildings and construction is therefore to help developing countries refine their strategies, their regulatory standards and incentive frameworks.

"The world is becoming increasingly urban, digital, and electric”, said Paul Kellett from the United4Efficiency programme, and highlighted the increasing energy demand. The consequence must be major improvements in energy efficiency, Kellett said. Philipp Munzinger from GIZ Proklima underlined the importance of education and training of technicians in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, to increase the appliances' efficiency, but also to avoid direct emissions from climate-harming refrigerants. Capacity building is a major pillar of Proklima’s work for integrated ozone and climate protection. The other speakers agreed that awareness is key to advance the transformation towards a sustainable building sector.

HEAT hosted this event as part of GFA’s 40 year anniversary series. At the same time, HEAT is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The recording is now available at