Tuesday, 19 January 2016

From Paris to Dubai, how can cities be more sustainable?

As we undergo the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies are uniquely positioned to partner with governments to address some of the world's greatest challenges.

Urbanization continues to spread globally, with 70% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2030. This trend brings with it the urgent need for more efficient use of energy, cleaner energy generation and cost effective energy storage. While the public sector must lead, it should work closely with the private sector to rapidly implement best practice policies, programs and projects that will improve urban efficiency and sustainability.

Buildings are responsible for up to a third of greenhouse gas emissions globally. The most cost-effective time to reduce energy consumption in buildings is before construction, as today’s integrated designs and off-the-shelf building technologies can yield up to a 50 percent reduction in energy use and positive returns on investments. For existing buildings, energy efficiency retrofits using these same principles can deliver 15-40 percent savings on energy costs, paying for themselves over time.

Best practices for improving building energy efficiency in cities include: 1) adopting and enforcing building codes and appliance standards; 2) setting reduction targets and adopting sustainable construction and leasing policies; 3) establishing retrofit programs for public and private sector buildings; 4) introducing certification, benchmarking and transparency programs; 5) accepting innovative financial models and programs; and 6) coordinating efforts with local utilities. While results are promising, very few cities globally have implemented a comprehensive set of these elements.

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