IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change Technology research, development, demonstration and deployment (RD&D)

Section 6.4 attested that there is already a broad array of accessible and cost-effective technologies and know-how that can abate GHG emissions in existing and new buildings to a significant extent that have not been widely adopted yet. At the same time, several recently developed technologies, including high performance windows, active glazing, vacuum insulated panels, phase change materials to increase building thermal mass, high performance reversible heat pumps and many other technologies may be combined with integrated passive solar design and result in up to 80% reduction of building energy consumption and GHG emissions. Large-scale GHG reduction in buildings requires fast and large-scale dissemination and transfer in many countries, including efficient and continuous training of professionals in the integrated approach to design and optimized use of combinations of technologies. Integrated intelligent building control systems, building- or community-level renewable energy generation, heat and coldness networks, coupled to building renewable energy capture components and intelligent management of the local energy market need more research, development and demonstration, and could develop significantly in the next two decades.

Between 1996 and 2003 the annual worldwide RD&D budget for energy efficiency in buildings has been approximately US$ 225–280 million/yr (IEA, 2004d). The USA has been the leading country in energy research and development for buildings for over a decade. Despite the decline in US funds by 2/3rd between 1993 and 2003, down from a peak of US$ 180 million, the USA is still responsible for half of the total global expenditures (IEA, 2004d). Substantial buildings-related energy-efficiency RD&D is also sponsored in Japan (15% of global expenditure).

The overall share of energy-efficiency in total energy RD&D expenditure is low, especially compared to its envisioned role in global GHG mitigation needs. In the period from 2001 to 2005 on average only 14% of all energy RD&D expenditure in IEA countries has been designated for energy-efficiency improvement (IEA, 2006c), whereas its contribution to CO2 emission reduction needs by 2050 is 45% according to the most commonly used ‘Map’ scenario of the IEA (2006d). The share dedicated to energy efficiency improvements in buildings was only 3%, in stark contrast with their 18% projected role in the envisioned necessary 32 Gt global CO2 reduction by 2050 (IEA, 2006d).