As countries seek to rapidly decarbonize their economies, investing in energy efficiency and the improved performance of buildings offers significant near term gains. Available measures can help transform the building and construction sector, which today is responsible for approximately 40% of energy- and process-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
To help capitalize on this potential, a UNECE-led partnership is supporting Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan to address the readiness of the building supply chain industry to deliver the needed materials, technologies, and equipment for high-performance buildings. It also aims to connect building energy efficiency with the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
In this context, UNECE and UNDP in Georgia jointly organized a workshop in Tbilisi on 22 November 2023, bringing together over 70 experts representing partner organizations and beneficiary countries of the project “Improving the energy efficiency of the global building supply chain industry and its products to deliver high performance buildings.” The objective of the workshop was to validate the findings of the preparation phase of the project and to explore technical capacity that the beneficiary countries can build upon to improve energy performance of buildings, reduce embodied carbon, and enhance energy efficiency in their building and construction sectors.
The workshop participants discussed the outcomes of the six-month preparation phase, which laid the groundwork for this regional effort, focusing on energy efficiency best practices and technical expertise tailored to the specific needs of the seven participating countries.
Vakhtang Tsintsadze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia opened the workshop and emphasized the importance of the activities planned for Georgia and a firm commitment from the Government to cooperate in the project implementation.
Dario Liguti, UNECE Director of Sustainable Energy Division, emphasized the critical role of energy efficiency in buildings, stating, "We envision buildings as energy producers, not energy sinks. With this new initiative, the participating countries will gain access to research data and technologies aligning with UNECE energy efficiency guidelines."
Douglas Webb, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, underscored the significance of the initiative for Georgia, a country that has already adopted its National Low-Emission Development Strategy, updated its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, and introduced a range of environment-friendly legislation, including the Law on Energy Efficiency in line with the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive.
"Construction and building sectors play a critical role in achieving national climate goals. In Georgia, the residential sector is responsible for 73% of national greenhouse gas emissions. Advancing the right policies and accelerating smart investments to decarbonize the building and construction sector and introduce energy-efficient technologies in housing is no longer a choice but an imperative,” he noted.
Nadja Hedler from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action of Germany, and Lidija Christmann from the Embassy of Germany expressed their confidence that the successful implementation of this project would play a significant role in improving energy efficiency of the building industry sector in the region.
The project aims to provide international funding and technical support to governments and stakeholders in the building industry in beneficiary countries, fostering a robust foundation for enhancing the energy efficiency of their building and construction sectors. With total funding exceeding EUR 19.8 million, the initiative aligns with the countries' commitments under the Paris Agreement.
This regional project is supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) Germany and will be implemented from 2024 to 2029. The project is led by UNECE, in cooperation with UNDP Country Offices in all beneficiary countries, UNEP, UNESCAP, UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre (UNEP-CCC), Green Building Alliance (GBA), the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP), and Passive House Institute (PHI).