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Mitigating climate change through green buildings and smart growth

  • Economics


Energy-efficient buildings are seen by climate change experts as one of the least-cost approaches to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. This paper summarizes a study carried out for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change that takes a broader look at the potential role of a climate-friendly built environment including not only considerations of how buildings are constructed and used, but also how they interface with the electric grid and where they are located in terms of urban densities and access to employment and services. In addition to summarizing mechanisms of change (barriers and drivers) the paper reviews a set of policies that could bring carbon emissions in the building sector in 2025 almost back to 2004 levels. By the middle of the century the combination of green buildings and smart growth could deliver the deeper reductions that many believe are needed to mitigate climate change.

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