Energy Efficiency Upgrades Key to Green Growth

A NEW World Economic Forum report recommends steps for governments to stimulate investments into energy efficiency upgrades in existing commercial buildings in order to enable job creation and green growth.

The report, entitled, A Profitable and Resource Efficient Future: Catalysing Retrofit Finance and Investing in Commercial Real Estate, also describes the critical role that banks, insurance companies, institutional investors, utilities, energy service companies and real estate holders need to play in unlocking the potential of the retrofit market, which has been estimated at $400 billion in the United States alone.

One of the key recommendations of the report is a government-mandated, standardised energy consumption reporting and efficiency rating system for buildings. When combined with additional policies such as tax incentives, loan guarantees or credit enhancements, the information generated by such a reporting and rating system can help would-be investors make better-informed decisions to invest in energy efficiency projects.

“This report offers a clear set of actions for policy-makers and industry, starting now, making the low-carbon economy a reality for all our futures,” said Chris Luebkeman, Director, Global Foresight and Innovation, Arup Group.

Among the six countries studied in-depth, Australia was found to have the most mature retrofit market as a result of a long-standing reporting and rating system, coupled with additional government-led action, including tax deductions and a third party institution to take on demonstration projects.

Other markets examined included China, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. In total, over 100 interviews with experts, government leaders and business leaders from a cross-section of industries in these countries reinforced the findings and yielded 20 practical, action-oriented recommendations for the public and private sector to undertake immediately.

“Government and business share an interest in improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings,” said Colin Dyer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jones Lang LaSalle. “Policies enabling and encouraging cost-effective building retrofits could reduce carbon emissions while driving economic growth through job creation, cost reduction and risk mitigation.”

“As the world’s population swells to 9 billion people by 2050, more buildings will be built than ever before. The recommended actions can help countries reduce the amount of resources needed to fuel such growth, avoid exposure to the risks of resource scarcity and help spur economic growth,” added Robin Ried, Senior Community Manager of the Infrastructure & Urban Development Industry at the World Economic Forum, and lead author of the report.

Picture from Cover of Report from World Economic Forum.

Friday 28th October 2011

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