Buildings account for nearly 14% of global emissions, presenting a significant obstacle to achieving sustainability goals.
The challenge of decarbonization in the building sector is not limited to new constructions but also encompasses the crucial task of addressing existing buildings. Buildings account for nearly 14% of global emissions, presenting a significant obstacle to achieving sustainability goals. The transformation of existing buildings from "climate liabilities to climate assets" is integral to mitigating their environmental impact and driving progress toward a sustainable future.
Existing buildings contribute significantly to carbon emissions, posing a substantial obstacle to global efforts to combat climate change. Inefficient insulation and poor ventilation lead to energy loss, exacerbating the environmental footprint of these structures. The inefficiencies also result in higher energy costs, impacting the financial well-being of building owners and occupants.
Investing in existing buildings for retrofits and deep energy interventions offers a viable solution to mitigate their carbon impact. Retrofits involving the addition of materials such as insulation, new windows, cladding, and roofing, along with the implementation of high-performance mechanical systems, can drastically reduce energy consumption and resultant emissions by 50% or more. These retrofits enable buildings to capitalize on a decarbonizing electrical grid while lessening the load on that grid. Moreover, retrofits have substantially lower embodied-carbon impacts than constructing new, more efficient buildings.
According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, retrofitting an existing building emits 50 to 75 percent less carbon than constructing the same building new. Strategic material substitutions using carbon-storing materials in deep energy retrofits (DERs) offer the potential for expedited realization of net carbon benefits. Additionally, policies supporting investment in low-embodied-carbon products, carbon-storing materials, and DER solutions can accelerate the transformation of existing buildings from carbon-emitting to carbon-storing entities.
LuxWall presents a revolutionary solution to address poor insulation and energy inefficiencies in buildings through their vacuum windows. This innovative technology not only enhances insulation but also contributes to cost savings, making it an environmentally and financially sustainable choice for building owners.
Reframe Systems is scaling offsite construction of zero-carbon buildings with volumetric modules manufactured using advanced robotic microfactories.
Adept Materials develops smart building products for the construction industry that are based upon a proprietary multifunctional material technology that was developed in the company founder’s physics laboratory at Brown University.
LiveRoof offers a unique green roof solution that has been installed on over 10 million square feet globally. Their hybrid green roof system combines speed and convenience in installation, contributing to a greener and more sustainable environment while enhancing the aesthetic appeal of buildings.
Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world.
Q-Bot develops intelligent tools using robotics and AI that can inspect, monitor and maintain the health of our buildings and infrastructure. Q-Bot’s mission is to transform the built environment with robotics and AI to become a global leader in construction innovation.
AeroSeal addresses energy leakage through ducts and walls by employing advanced polymer technology. This innovative solution efficiently identifies and seals cracks, significantly reducing energy loss and enhancing the overall energy efficiency of buildings.
WoodWorks - Wood Products Council provides free project support as well as education and resources related to the code-compliant design, engineering and construction of commercial and multi-family wood buildings.
As we navigate the imperative of decarbonizing our built environment, it is crucial to prioritize the transformation of existing buildings. By advocating for strategic retrofitting, leveraging innovative technologies such as LuxWall, LiveRoof, and AeroSeal, and supporting policies that promote sustainable building materials and solutions, we can collectively drive the transition toward a more sustainable and carbon-neutral building sector.
A critical obstacle in the battle against food waste is the inefficiency in the cold chain system — the process that ensures perishable goods are kept at optimal temperatures from harvest until they reach the consumer.
Technologies like food tracking and predictive analytics are being utilized to combat the annual waste of 1.3 billion tons of food, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to global sustainability.
Climate Robotics, a subfield of Climate Tech, uses AI-powered robots to scale climate action by automating tasks like planting trees or monitoring coral reefs, thus accelerating the implementation of climate response strategies and helping societies adjust to new climate realities.