By 2030, cities will account for nearly three-quarters of world energy use. In most cities, buildings account for more than half of this consumption. But 75% of the urban infrastructure that will exist in 2050 has yet to be built, presenting a huge opportunity to shape more resource-efficient, healthy, low-carbon cities through better buildings.

The Buildings Initiative provides practical resources to help cities succeed with policies, technologies and innovative investment strategies to deliver better buildings, cleaner air and more efficient urban development.

Through smart planning and better design, we aim to increase the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce buildings-related energy emissions and pollution.

In October 2014, WRI and Johnson Controls merged Johnson Controls’ Institute for Building Efficiency into WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. The Buildings Initiative is a multi-year partnership and builds on the deep building efficiency expertise and experience of Johnson Controls and the track record of successful broader cities engagement at WRI.

Cooperative solutions can help overcome today’s unsustainable practices and replicate and scale successful initiatives. WRI focuses on developing those solutions, engaging with a variety of stakeholders to identify and address critical needs in partner cities that bridge market challenges and support change in the buildings sector.

One of the flagship activities of the Buildings Initiative is the Building Efficiency Accelerator, which supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All goal of doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvement globally by 2030.

The Initiative’s work also goes beyond energy efficiency to zero-carbon buildings and urban design. In 2021, WRI and partners launched the Zero Carbon Building Accelerator to build off of the BEA to support national and subnational governments in aligning their decarbonization efforts through coordinated roadmaps and action plans.

The Building Initiative collaborates with stakeholders across industries to accelerate broad systemic change of the building and construction sectors to ensure today’s development choices don’t lock in decades of high energy demand, air pollution, water use and carbon emissions, as well as transportation challenges and unequal access to opportunity and core services.    

Photo Credit: Franck Michel/Flickr