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Driven by population growth and urbanization, the building sector is a significant contributor to economic growth. Urban centres provide opportunities for a range of social and cultural activities, as well as being critical for innovations in science, technology and education. Indeed, urban areas are of critical importance for social and economic development (UNEP, 2014). However, with approximately 40 percent of global energy use taking place within buildings, this sector is also the single largest contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

As a result, the design and use of energy and resource-efficient buildings has a key role in climate change mitigation to accelerate the global green economy transition. Although vast savings are possible by constructing new green buildings and retrofitting existing buildings, even greater gains can be achieved by adopting a long-term “life-cycle” approach involving stakeholders at different stages – from environmentally-minded investors and architects, to sustainable extraction, construction and usage, and the eventual demolition and the recycling or disposal of the building materials.

Relevance to SDGs

Green buildings will have a role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 11, specifically target 11.c, which calls for support for least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials.


SDG 11.C
Sustainable Building in LDCs


The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

Case Studies

Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED)
International Labour Organization (ILO)