Given the durable nature of buildings, the potential for GHG reductions resides mostly with the existing
building stock for some time to come. However, by 2025, newly constructed net zero energy homes
and climate friendly designs for large commercial buildings and industrial facilities could begin to
generate sizeable GHG reductions by displacing the energy intensive structures that embody today's
standard practices. By mid century, land use policies could have an equally significant impact on
GHG emissions. This inter temporal phasing of impacts does not mean that retrofit, new construc
tion, and land use policies should be staged; to achieve significant GHG reductions by 2050, all
three types of policies must be strengthened as soon as politically feasible.
Similarly, applied R&D will lead to GHG reductions in the short run, while in the long run basic research
will produce new, ultra low GHG technologies. This does not mean that basic research should be
delayed while applied R&D opportunities are exploited. The pipeline of technology options must be
continuously replenished by an ongoing program of both applied and basic research.
By linking near term action to long term potential, the building sector can assume a leadership
role in reducing GHG emissions in the United States and globally.
Towards a Climate Friendly