Massive additional reduction needed to meet net zero targets by 2040

Progress on reducing emissions from the UK’s buildings has stalled as European peers have steamed ahead, according to a report by Kingspan.

The materials giant’s Global Retrofit Index, compiled by sustainability consultant 3Keel, revealed the UK had reduced its building emissions by just 6% between 2010 and 2020, compared with the 36% reduction achieved by the Netherlands.


Source: Shutterstock

The report identified Netherlands as the most successful country in reducing building emissions

France, Ireland and Germany also made significant progress on decarbonising buildings, while greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the US actually increased.

In order to achieve its net zero targets, the UK will need to achieve an additional 71% reduction in building emissions between 2020 and 2040.

Even the Netherlands will need to ramp up efforts to achieve the 64% reduction necessary to meet goals.

Report author Olwen Smith of 3Keel said retrofitting was a “pivotal lever” for decarbonising the global economy and that his research showed “concerning stagnation”.

“The tools and technologies required to improve energy performance in buildings already exist,” said Smith.

“Coordinated efforts between governments and the private sector are now needed to overcome implementation barriers and rapidly scale retrofitting to drive down building emissions globally.”

It comes after another report by professional services firm KPMG, which identified the built environment as one of the laggard sectors in the UK’s effort to decarbonise the economy.