Buildings have a huge impact on the environment and on our quality of life but, once in use, they often don’t achieve their intended level of energy efficiency. The end result is buildings that aren’t comfortable to live or work in, higher energy bills and higher CO2 emissions.

Sustainable buildings typically have lower annual costs for energy, water, maintenance and repairs and other operating expenses. They usually take advantage of renewable resources like using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic equipment.

Refurbishment of our existing buildings is a major challenge but energy consumption can be tackled using commercially available technologies such as Demand Logic’s ‘Fitbit for buildings’.

Improving sustainability in the sector will result in healthier and more productive environments in homes and offices around the world. In tackling our energy use it’s essential that we make our buildings as comfortable as possible for the people who work, study and relax in them.

Many of our Sustainable Buildings Award winners are playing their part in striving towards buildings with net zero emissions, from China’s Landsea Design to the Greater London Authority’s RE:FIT scheme.

In December 2015, world leaders gathered at COP21 and adopted the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2°C. For the first time, world leaders recognised that green buildings must and will be part of the solution to climate change.

Terri Willis, CEO, World Green Building Council