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More than 50 % of the world’s new buildings are constructed in Asia every year, and the building sector accounts for approximately 25 % of Asia’s overall energy consumption. In the Asia-Pacific region, energy consumption in buildings will continue to grow rapidly as a result of new construction spurred by high economic growth and the increasing demand for cooling in tropical climate regions (GABC. Global Status Reports 2017 and 2018).

On 5 September in Bangkok, over 40 participants from 15 countries in the region discussed during the GlobalABC Regional Roundtable for Asia Pacific solutions for the building and construction sector to match the climate related objectives set out in the Paris Agreement. This Roundtable was organized by the Global Alliance for Building and Construction (GlobalABC) in partnership with the French Agency for Environment and Energy management (ADEME), the Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Comission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). 

During the Roundtable, the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced the status and methodology of the “Asia Roadmap for Buildings and Construction 2020-2050” which the IEA is currently elaborating within the framework of the GlobalABC. The Asia Buildings Roadmap outlined the eight categories derived from the GlobalABC Global Roadmap:

1.       Urban planning

2.       New buildings

3.       Building retrofits

4.       Building operations

5.       Systems

6.       Materials

7.       Resilience

8.       Clean energy

Each category includes key actions, policies and technologies needed to transform the buildings and construction sector and will eventually include achievable and aspirational targets for 2030, 2040, and 2050. The participants were invited to provide input and discussed in three groups the proposed key actions, policies, and technologies. 

Their key findings include:

  • More ambitious codes and policies are needed,

  • Finding ways back to traditional design and architecture could be helpful (e.g. in Mongolia a locally adapted building technique adapted to the country’s extreme climates was recently re-discovered),

  • Well-adapted buildings also need to be linked to municipal planning, and capacity building is especially important at the local/municipal level,

  • A stronger reflection of resilience in building codes is needed; also dedicated policies on locally adapted construction methods, dedicated governance and coordination on resilience policies, putting crises plans in place for resilience,

  • In addition to policies, developing and working with new business models is important,

  • Integrated spatial planning needs linking to net zero building codes, green certification at neighbourhood levels and district energy approaches considering buildings at city scale/in their environment instead of as individual entities,

  • Vertical integration across governmental restriction and linking zoning to national development planning while at the same time working towards decentralization at local and municipal level

These key findings will be included into the next iteration of the Asia Buildings Roadmap which will be communicated back to participants for feedback. The Roundtable also provided a unique opportunity for facilitating good practice peer-to-peer exchange and fostered matchmaking between GlobalABC members who continue cooperating in selected areas to accelerate zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector.

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