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Infographic: Green Buildings Make an Impact

Infographic: Green Buildings Make an Impact

Although square footage continues to grow, building sector emissions are steady, with the potential for more reductions ahead.
All phases of a building’s life cycle, from construction through to operation, generate carbon emissions of some kind. According to the International Energy Agency, building operations are responsible for 30 percent of energy consumption and 26 percent of global energy-related emissions. The United States alone was responsible for 4.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide in 2021, 31 percent of which came from the building sector, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). 

Although commercial square footage grew by 55 percent between 1990 and the mid-2000s, since 1990, commercial building energy use per square foot fell by 26 percent and carbon emissions per square foot were down by 37 percent, according to the USGBC in “State of Decarbonization: Progress in U.S. Commercial Buildings 2023,” released in December 2023. 

In fact, this puts current building-related emissions around levels last seen in the 1990s. 

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