The decarbonization of buildings in Spain

Descarbonización en edificios

That climate change is the biggest challenge that humanity has ahead of it is an increasingly established idea in which more and more actors are taking part. One of the main objectives for combating this crisis is to avoid the rising temperatures on the planet. The vocation that various international treaties and agreements had outlined for years took shape definitively in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The signatory countries pledged to take steps to prevent the planet's temperature from steadying more than 1.5 degrees in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

Decarbonize to curb global warming

Among the mitigation measures that the European Union, China, Japan, the US or South Korea found indispensable to achieving this objective are decarbonization strategies. In order to implement them, productive activities must stop using fossil fuels, responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In this way we move towards societies with low-carbon economies, which allow us to maintain productivity more sustainably with the planet. And while all this sounds like a distant future, the truth is that it is closer than we imagined: Europe wants to be carbon neutral by 2050.

What is decarbonization?

That in 30 years Europe will be able to emit the same carbon that it is able to fix (through CO2 sinks such as plants and seas) is a breakthrough that will involve significant changes that must be implemented immediately. In November 2020 Spain presented its Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy as a member of the European Union, supporting the achievement of the objective and showing the urgency of immediately adopting and implementing necessary policies in this ecological and social transition.

The decarbonization of buildings

Building construction and renovation is one of the sectors that will play a key role in implementing decarbonization. Buildings cause 38% of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. But it is also the sector where cost interventions and the opportunity for improvement can be most effective says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The future of construction and renovation

Decarbonized buildings are already a reality. Through a life cycle analysis, we know the CO2 emissions data generated at each one of the life cycles phases. With this in-depth analysis we can move on to minimizing the carbon footprint, a fundamental task that will allow us, through the design and selection of materials to move towards decarbonization. Once maximum efficiency is achieved, it is essential to compensate for the carbon that cannot be avoided with it. All remaining carbon generation must be offset and not excused or assumed as inevitable. Of course, the building must have an electrification from 100% renewable energies. It is essential to avoid the emission of gases from fossil fuels during the operational life of the building.