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Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change
Research Highlights

October 2018

Linking Local and National Government for Global Mitigation

Case studies in six cities of barriers to implementing building energy codes.

building energy codes reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Putting building energy codes into action will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Photo: Thrive Home Builders. Enlarge Image.

The Science

Building energy efficiency is an important strategy globally for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Like many such strategies, it requires close coordination between national and local governments to work well. Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of Maryland examined gaps in implementation of building energy codes to help coordinate this effort and, ultimately, overcome hurdles.

The Impact

More than 55 countries have committed to reducing emissions through building energy efficiency under the Paris Agreement. Because both local and national governments play roles in building energy efficiency, it is critical to have robust coordination to meet these commitments. This study examined the extent of coordination and the impact these gaps have on actual policy implementation.

Summary

PNNL assessed the status of building energy efficiency globally in Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. The research team then examined building energy code implementation in six cities across different continents as case studies to assess what it may take for countries to implement the ambitions of their energy efficiency goals. These cities were Bogota, Colombia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Eskisehir, Turkey; Mexico City, Mexico; Rajkot, India; and Tshwane, South Africa, all of which are "deep dive" cities under the Sustainable Energy for All Building Efficiency Accelerator.

The research focuses on understanding the baseline along with existing gaps in implementation and coordination. The methodology used a combination of surveys on code status and interviews with stakeholders at the local and national level, as well as review of published documents. The researchers looked at code development, implementation, and evaluation. The cities are all working to improve implementation; however, the challenges they currently face include gaps in resources, capacity, tools, and institutions to check for compliance. Better coordination between national and local governments could help improve implementation, but that coordination is not yet well established. For example, all six of the cities reported that there was little to no involvement of local stakeholders in development of the national code; only one city reported that it had access to national funding to support code implementation. More robust coordination could better link cities with capacity building and funding for compliance, and ensure that the code reflects local priorities. Understanding gaps in implementation can also help in designing more targeted interventions to scale up energy savings.

Research Area: Climate and Earth Systems Science

Research Team: Meredydd Evans, Sha Yu, Artur Denysenko, Aaron Staniszewski, Joint Global Change Research Institute/PNNL; Luting Jin, University of Maryland.

Reference: M. Evans, S. Yu, A. Staniszewski, L. Jin, A. Denysenko, "The international implications of national and local coordination on building energy codes: Case studies in six cities." Journal of Cleaner Production 191, 127-134 (2018). [DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.04.142]

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