Publications of Urge-Vorsatz, D.

Investigating greenhouse challenge from growing trends of electricity consumption through home appliances in buildings

Energy use in buildings accounts for 38% of global total final energy consumption, 45% of which in OECD countries. According to the International Energy Agency the continuing demand for new large and small appliances, often with new functionality, is resulting in rapidly increasing electricity consumption in both the residential and service sectors. Appliances contribution to the residential electricity use is increasing. Also, appliances types are changing in our homes. This paper aims to find the trend of energy consumption of appliances in the building sector and describing the driver of this energy consumption. For doing so, a review of the literature available in the topic is summarized first. Trends show that appliances energy consumption is growing, but also that are disproportionately powered by electricity, mainly due to the proliferation of electronics and other small household devices, especially in OECD countries. This trend, which have already brought millions of households out of poverty in China and India and promises to continually improve standards of living throughout the developing world, will also have a major impact on appliance energy consumption as many more households will be able to afford basic equipment such as refrigerators and washing machines. Moreover, because appliances generally consume electricity instead of renewable fuels or direct combustion fuels, they carry a relatively large carbon footprint in countries where electricity production is carbon intensive. Finally, appliances present significant opportunities for efficiency improvement, since most of the appliances to be implemented in the near future still have to be produced. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Affordable construction towards sustainable buildings: Review on embodied energy in building materials

Affordable construction has identified low embodied energy in materials as key issue. This review paper shows that even though there is a lack of research on this topic, embodied energy and carbon are studied in the context of buildings and construction materials. Moreover, comparison between studies is not possible due to the different assumptions used by the researchers, due to the fact that most studies are focused in a given location, and also due to the great variation between data presented in the embodied energy databases available. This paper shows different studies published in scientific journal papers and carried out around the world on the accounting of embodied energy in building materials. The paper includes the boundary of each of this study, including the location, type of material or building studied, and the conclusions found. Moreover, the paper discusses the definition of embodied energy and the significance of this concept in buildings. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Evaluating policy instruments to foster energy efficiency for the sustainable transformation of buildings

Energy efficiency policies have the unique capacity to contribute to a more sustainable energy future at an economic net benefit even when co-benefits are not included in the evaluations. The purpose of this paper is to present quantitative and comparative information on the societal cost-effectiveness and the lifetime energy savings of all light eight building energy efficiency policy instruments. While certain instruments, such as product standards and labels are shown to be able to achieve the largest energy savings, from a cost-effectiveness perspective, it is not possible to clearly prioritize the policy instruments reviewed. Any of them can be cost-effective if selected, designed, implemented and enforced in a tailored way to local resources, capacities and cultures. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Energy use in buildings in a long-term perspective

Energy services in and related to buildings are responsible for approximately one-third of total global final energy demand and energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. They also contribute to the other key energy-related global sustainability challenges including lack of access to modern energy services, climate change, indoor and outdoor air pollution, related and additional health risks and energy dependence. The aim of this paper is to summarize the main sustainability challenges related to building thermal energy use and to identify the key strategies for how to address these challenges. The paper's basic premises and results are provided by and updated from the analysis conducted for the Global Energy Assessment: identification of strategies and key solutions; scenario assessment; and the comparison of the results with other models in the literature. The research has demonstrated that buildings can play a key role in solving sustainability challenges: close to one-third of 2005 building energy use can be eliminated by the proliferation of state-of-the-art construction and retrofit know-how in each world region, while maintaining wealth and amenity increases. In contrast, approximately 80% of this 2005 energy use will be locked in by the middle of the century if policies are not sufficiently ambitious in targeting regionally specific state-of-the-art performance levels. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Assessment of bottom-up sectoral and regional mitigation potentials

The greenhouse gas mitigation potential of different economic sectors in three world regions are estimated using a bottom-up approach. These estimates provide updates of the numbers reported in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR4). This study is part of a larger project aimed at comparing greenhouse gas mitigation potentials from bottom-up and top-down approaches. The sectors included in the analysis are energy supply, transport, industry and the residential and service sector. The mitigation potentials range from 11 to 15GtCO2eq. This is 26-38% of the baseline in 2030 and 47-68% relative to the year 2000. Potential savings are estimated for different cost levels. The total potential at negative costs is estimated at 5-8% relative to the baseline, with the largest share in the residential and service sector and the highest reduction percentage for the transport and industry sectors. These (negative) costs include investment, operation and maintenance and fuel costs and revenues at moderate discount rates of 3-10%. At costs below 100US$/tCO2, the largest potential reductions in absolute terms are estimated in the energy supply sector, while the transport sector has the lowest reduction potential. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Municipalities and energy efficiency in countries in transition. Review of factors that determine municipal involvement in the markets for energy services and energy efficient equipment, or how to augment the role of municipalities as market players

It is widely recognized that many cost-efficient opportunities to employ end-use energy efficiency measures exist in countries in transition (CITs) and that municipal authorities have an essential role to play in capturing these opportunities. The aim of this paper is to review the factors that determine the degree of involvement of local authorities in the market for energy services and energy efficient (EE) equipment in three CITs: Bulgaria, Hungary and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (hereafter: Macedonia). We achieve this aim by examining the current status of local governments as the most powerful determinant of municipal market involvement. Two broad groups of factors are discussed: statutory obligations and powers of local governments, especially energy-related tasks, and finance. We explain how specific features within these two areas may influence the motivation of local authorities to improve energy efficiency and their capacity to do so. We argue that greater decentralization is the first step in augmenting the role of local authorities in the market for energy services and EE equipment. Based on the analysis we give recommendations on how to encourage municipal authorities to use market mechanisms more extensively to deliver energy efficiency. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.