Global greenhouse gas emissions from residential and commercial building materials and mitigation strategies to 2060

Xiaoyang Zhong, Mingming Hu, Sebastiaan Deetman, Bernhard Steubing, Hai Xiang Lin, Glenn Aguilar Hernandez, Carina Harpprecht, Chunbo Zhang, Arnold Tukker & Paul Behrens

Building stock growth around the world drives extensive material consumption and environmental impacts. Future impacts will be dependent on the level and rate of socioeconomic development, along with material use and supply strategies. Here we evaluate material-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for residential and commercial buildings along with their reduction potentials in 26 global regions by 2060. For a middle-of-the-road baseline scenario, building material-related emissions see an increase of 3.5 to 4.6 Gt CO2eq yr-1 between 2020–2060. Low- and lower-middle-income regions see rapid emission increase from 750 Mt (22% globally) in 2020 and 2.4 Gt (51%) in 2060, while higher-income regions shrink in both absolute and relative terms. Implementing several material efficiency strategies together in a High Efficiency (HE) scenario could almost half the baseline emissions. Yet, even in this scenario, the building material sector would require double its current proportional share of emissions to meet a 1.5 °C-compatible target.

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