Net zero progress reliant on energy performance say Kingspan

The comparitive performance of building emissions reductions across 6 countries between 2010 and 2020. Credit | 3Keel
The comparitive performance of building emissions reductions across 6 countries between 2010 and 2020. Credit | 3Keel
The technologies required to improve energy performance already exist — they need implementing to drive down building emissions & meet net zero goals, says

Kingspan is the global leader in high-performance insulation and energy efficient building solutions Kingspan is governed by a vision of a better built environment — one that reduces carbon emissions, promotes wellbeing, and is circular by design. 

The company’s goals — as outlined in its Planet Passionate sustainability programme — include net zero carbon manufacturing by 2030 and a 50% reduction in CO2 intensity in our primary supply chain partners, also by the end of the decade.

Headquartered in Ireland, Kingspan Group companies are active in over 80 countries and employ in excess of 22,000 people in more than 200 manufacturing facilities.

Kingspan has partnered with Oxford-based sustainability consultancy 3Keel, which helps organisations at all stages of their climate change journey, from understanding their climate impact through to tracking progress against targets and communicating results.

Recognised by the Financial Times as one of the UK’s Leading Management Consultants for Sustainability, 3Keel works to give organisations resilience in changing times, specialising in climate change.

Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings are on the decline — but what does that mean for net zero goals?

Kingspan and 3Keel have partnered on the new Global Retrofit Index, a report that examines historical buildings emission trends and retrofitting rates to identify the gaps between current action and what is required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“This analysis again demonstrates the importance of retrofitting as a lever in decarbonising the built environment if we’re to limit global warming to 1.5˚C and meet the objectives set out by the Paris Agreement,” comments Bianca Wong, Global Head of Sustainability at Kingspan, where she leads strategic environmental programmes across Kingspan’s global operations, supply chain and products. 

She has been with Kingspan for over a decade, spearheading sustainable practices across the business in Australia, UK and Ireland and now globally. 

“With this report, we encourage policymakers and the construction industry to continue to work together to facilitate change, through innovation and regulation, to bring forward workable ideas to support retrofit solutions and reduce global building emissions.”

The research finds reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings have slowed in key EU countries, plateauing in the UK and reversing in the USA.

Analysis shows that Germany's housing stock remains over-reliant on fossil-fuel heating, and improvements in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings have stagnated across the UK, France and Ireland — with the vast majority of certificates still rated as ‘D’ or ‘C’.

Based on the current expected trajectory of building emissions reductions, none of the countries assessed will meet their net zero climate commitments.

“With over a quarter of total global emissions stemming from the operation of our buildings, retrofitting is a pivotal lever for decarbonising the global economy,” shares Olwen Smith, Principal Consultant at 3Keel and author of the report. 

Before joining 3Keel, Smith spent two years at CDP, the not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts, where she ran teams associated with Science Based Targets and Net Zero. 

“However, this study shows a concerning stagnation of progress. Our analysis of six countries with old building stocks reveals that reductions in building emissions are now stalling and retrofitting rates are lagging far behind what is required to meet net-zero goals.

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


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