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Why are energy efficient houses important?
When you are planning to rent or buy an apartment or a house, what elements are you considering first? Size, cost, location, the availability of public infrastructure in the neighbourhood, such as public transport, shops, child care or schooling facilities? Yet another element is becoming increasingly important: energy efficiency.
Why? Because if you don’t think about it at the right moment, you will probably regret it as soon as you receive your first electricity or gas bill! It is very expensive to heat or otherwise to cool a building which is not energy efficient.
You have certainly experienced yourself the difference between a well isolated house and an apartment where the walls, the windows and the roofs are not well insulated. On top of the difference in costs, the energy efficiency of your home defines your everyday comfort and even more importantly affects your health.
Cutting your energy bill through refurbishing and making your home energy efficient is not only good for your finances; it is also good for the environment. The building sector accounts for almost 40 per cent of carbon-dioxide emissions globally. Energy efficiency in buildings can dramatically reduce emissions and promote climate change mitigation.
It is therefore crucial that new constructions are built according to high energy efficiency standards and that existing ones are refurbished to increase insulation and overall energy efficiency. To implement measures that promote energy efficiency in housing, Governments need to create appropriate legal and institutional frameworks and introduce the right incentives for private owners.
To support such efforts in the pan-European region, UNECE adopted Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing and published Good Practices for Energy-Efficient Housing. These include examples of best practices of how to develop legal, institutional and financial frameworks for energy-efficient housing, apply appropriate technological solutions, and educate consumers. UNECE has been promoting these best practices in a variety of countries, in particular in Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan and Tunisia.
UNECE also cooperates with partners on “smart cities”, a project which promotes energy efficiency at the level of entire cities through integrated city planning, better governance and the application of innovative technologies within different sectors.
To further strengthen the implementation of energy efficiency measures internationally, UNECE will work with partners on the development of building norms and standards related to energy efficiency.
So the next time you will look for an apartment or a house, make sure you carefully check its energy efficiency!