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Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Admitting holistic approach to building design, delivery and operation and a paradigm that envisions buildings as energy producers and not solely or primarily as energy sinks, UNECE develops framework guidelines for energy efficiency standards in buildings, conducts research on existing energy efficiency standards and technologies in buildings in the UNECE region, etc.

Compendium of best practices on standards and technologies for energy efficiency in buildings in the UNECE region (Draft of 21 March 2019)PDFPDF
Study on Mapping of Existing Technologies to Enhance Energy Efficiency in Buildings in the UNECE Region (March 2019):  
1. Country Sheets . Subregions C,E,F.
2. Country Sheets. Subregions A,B,D.


Study on Mapping Energy Efficiency Standards and Technologies in Buildings in the UNECE Region (August 2018)PDFPDF
Framework guidelines for energy efficiency standards in buildings ECE/ENERGY/GE.6/2017/4PDFPDFPDF

High Performance Building Initiative

HPBI Brochure

2019 Report on the UNECE High-Performance Buildings Initiative

UNECE promotes development and dissemination of international standards in energy efficiency, and specifically, the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing and the UNECE Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings. Endorsed by the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy and the Committee on Housing and Land Management, the Framework Guidelines call for:

  • Dissemination to ensure that national, regional and municipal leaders in the public, private, research and education sectors must be made aware of the framework’s vision, logic, practicality, and advantages.
  • Education to provide information and guidance to all players to foster local development of building standards, codes and practices that are aligned with the Framework.
  • Research through a collaboration among leaders in science and technology to focus on challenges in such areas as: (1) building components and materials; (2) building design, construction and monitoring; (3) energy generation and distribution; (4) integrated urban systems and life cycle management; and (5) strategies for each country and climate zone to be carbon-free by 2050.
  • Consultation to establish formal and informal communication channels with local policy, market, and knowledge stakeholders for evaluation of impact, dialogue on in impact strategy, addressing discovered or unanticipated challenges, and cultivating global consensus in support of the Framework.
  • Participation through institution of networks of support and engagement among leading corporations, foundations, universities, professions, civil society and others with the array of resources – intellectual, experiential, financial, and relational – that will be required to enable deep transformation.

International Centres of Excellence

To further UNECE’s work in promoting the principles of energy efficiency UNECE is partnering with selected non-governmental organisations throughout the world with demonstrated capabilities to support and advance the principles of the Framework and desires to establish a network of designated International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Buildings (each individually, “ICE-HPB” and collectively, the “Network”).  The International Centres of Excellence on High Performance Buildings will be a knowledge-sharing framework among progressive cities to provide on-the-ground implementation assistance for building owners and developers, architects, engineers, contractors and planning officials.  

On 10 July 2018, Building Energy Exchange (BE-Ex) became a founding hub of this critical knowledge sharing network to bring high performance building best practices to scale. Additional centers are underway in Vancouver, British Columbia; Wexford, Ireland; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Brussels, Belgium.  The network will expand as other communities join.

Global Building Network

Working in parallel with the Network, the Global Building Network, a consortium of academic research institutions will also support and advance the principles of the Framework Guidelines.

UNECE and Penn State University (PSU) have agreed to collaborate in the Global Building Network to conduct research, communication, dissemination, and education needed to promote global implementation of the Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings and thereby promote sustainable high performance energy efficient communities of buildings within the built environment.  Other universities expected to join the GBN include Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Singapore University, Nazerbaev University, and Dalian University.

The overall objective of the Global Building Network initiative is to improve health and life quality in buildings while simultaneously decarbonizing building related energy, breaking the historic link between improved health and life quality and atmospheric carbonization.  The initiative will focus on capacity development and impact in the field by providing:

  • Intellectual content and material necessary to educate, advocate and advise for global building/energy/health and life quality transformation;
  • Outreach capability required to create a worldwide community level shift to truly sustainable, near-zero energy/healthy and high life quality buildings.

The Global Building Network will be the primary action platform for work toward the objectives of the initiative and will conduct activities related to research, education, and collaboration.  Research will be conducted directly by PSU and through a global consortium of research institutions related to building and energy design, technology, delivery, maintenance, improvement, life-cycle performance, management, finance, and regulation.  Research will focus on the dual goals of (1) systematically articulating a new science of sustainable high performance buildings as a foundation for both educational curricula and professional practice, and (2) supporting in-the-field efforts to drive transformation.  Education will be conducted through online, classroom, and in-the-field courses and other informational and instructional resources.